Moorhead - Moorhead senior defenseman and captain Will Borgen has a pretty good reason as to why he doesn’t feel any ill will toward the sport that nearly killed him.

“I like hockey a lot,” Borgen said. “A skate to the neck? I can still play. It’s not that bad.”

Playing hockey in the spring in a U.S. tournament, Borgen went down to his knees after checking someone and felt a skater breeze by him in a pileup. He went back to the bench and told his coach – current Bemidji coach Wade Chiodo – he may have been cut.

According to Borgen, that was about the time Chiodo “freaked out.”

Moorhead coach Jon Ammerman got a phone call from Chiodo after Borgen went to the hospital.

“(Chiodo) said it was the most disgusting thing he’s ever seen,” Ammerman said. “He said it looked like a really rare steak was cut into, but on somebody’s neck. It was just pooling blood. He’s the reason we have the high neck guards this season.”

Borgen didn’t see the fuss, even with doctors asking him if his breathing was OK, as they stitched him up.

“It wasn’t squirting or anything,” Borgen said. “It wasn’t bad. I have a scar there from a birthmark, so one more wasn’t bad.”

Hard to believe Borgen began his hockey journey because his parents thought skiing was a bit too dangerous.

When he was 3 years old, his family took a ski trip to Bozeman, Mont., and his parents didn’t want him on the slopes, so he went skating with his aunt.

The rest is history.

“I dedicated my whole life to hockey,” Borgen said. “I play it every day. All year.”

Borgen – a St. Cloud State commit – has 28 points in 26 games this season, as the Spuds head to their 15th straight Class 2A, Section 8 championship game today. They will take on Bemidji in Thief River Falls at 7 p.m.

The Spuds will play a top-seeded Bemidji that is not only looking for its first section title since 1986, but is also 2-0 against the Spuds this season.

“It’s very special to play for Moorhead and I don’t want to ever stop wearing the Moorhead jersey,” Borgen said. “We just have to come out hard and play our game. They were a lot more passionate and wanted to win the other two games. I think we’ll be ready.”

In his three seasons on varsity, Borgen has amassed 72 points on 18 goals and 54 assists in 83 games. He helped the Spuds win a section title as a sophomore.

“He’s a kid we not only rely on defensively, but offensively,” Ammerman said. “He’s a guy that makes a difference every time he’s on the ice. He’s also a leader in what he does, what he says and how he holds himself.”

The way he holds himself started at a young age. He has a signed contract from fourth grade with his teacher Chad Durand about returning to his class to speak about working hard and being a good student when he becomes a professional hockey player.

The contract may not be legally binding, considering Durand – a big University of North Dakota hockey fan – made Borgen promise in the contract to get him tickets and let his kids see the locker room when he plays for UND.

Borgen is headed to St. Cloud State to play hockey.

“I used to be a UND fan,” Borgen said. “Not anymore. I think the contract is a little fake, so I don’t think it holds up anymore.”

As for whether or not he’ll hold up the part of the contract about talking to Durand’s students about hard work if he makes the NHL …

“Oh, for sure,” Borgen. “I’ll definitely do that.”

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