MOORHEAD – When Moorhead graduate Will Borgen was 3 years old, his family was on a ski trip. His parents felt skiing was too dangerous for him, so Borgen and his aunt went skating.

A love of skating was born and grew into a love of hockey. On Saturday, about 15 years after that first skate, Borgen was picked in the NHL draft by the Buffalo Sabres with the 92nd overall pick.

Borgen was happy he skipped skiing that day.

“I’m glad I started playing hockey. No question about it,” Borgen said. “This doesn’t happen every day, so I’m incredibly honored.”

Borgen was on a couch with his mom Saturday watching the NHL Network, waiting to hear his name when his phone rang. He got the call that the Sabres were going to pick him with the first pick in the fourth round.

“Once the phone rings and you get your call, it’s pretty exciting. It releases all the anxiety,” Borgen said. “I called my dad and told my siblings. They were definitely excited and proud of me.”

Borgen holds up with some of the highest draft picks in Moorhead history. Brian Lee was drafted ninth overall in 2005, Matt Cullen was drafted 35th in 1996, Brian Gifford was drafted 85th in 2004 and Chris VandeVelde was drafted 97th in 2005.

“For Moorhead, you look at the older guys when you’re younger and watch them in high school and then you see them play college and you want to play college and then they get drafted and you want to get drafted,” Borgen said. “It’s just following in their footsteps. It’s the history of Moorhead.”

Borgen was a defenseman for the Spuds. He notched 28 points on 22 assists and six goals in 27 games in his senior season before heading to the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League. In 84 career games with the Spuds, Borgen had 72 points on 54 assists and 18 goals.

In the USHL, Borgen had eight points on seven assists and one goal in 18 games with Omaha. Borgen will not play another year in the USHL and will head to St. Cloud for his freshman season next year.

“In the last year, he’s really kind of blossomed into a player that continues to get better and I think teams really like that,” Moorhead coach Jon Ammerman said. “He’s still a very raw, athletic hockey player. He has a few things that are tough to teach like his size and athleticism. He skates extremely well for a big guy and he has a competitive edge that’s tough to teach.”

Borgen was not on the NHL radar until the summer before his senior season. It took growth and work to get where he is now. It’ll take the same thing to get to the NHL.

“I got a little bigger and I worked a lot on my game,” Borgen said. “I think when I went to Omaha for camp in the summer I started getting on the radar a little bit. (Getting drafted) is an unbelievable feeling. (Playing in the NHL) is still a long ways away. Got to have a lot of hard work to put in to get there, but it’s exciting.”

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