Borer Making his Mark at St. Cloud
by Ben Birnell/Special to CHN
For anyone who has ever stepped into the St. Cloud State locker room, one of the first things they undoubtedly notice is the pictures of former Huskies that now play in the National Hockey League hanging on the wall.
And, as one of the last things seen before leaving the locker room, the pictures remind those admiring them of the past players who made contributions to the Huskies on the ice.
What may not be readily realized is that a few of the players on that wall, stars like Ryan Malone and Mark Hartigan, have also served as captains for the Huskies. If things continue to go as they have, junior defenseman Casey Borer (a resident of Brookly Park, Minn.) could be one of the next players added to that wall.
"When Casey's on his game, he's a big, steady horse back on the blue line," SCSU assistant coach Fred Harbinson said. "One his best attributes is that he is a big puck-moving defenseman."
His work ethic earned him the captaincy as only a junior.
"Being captain is a great honor," said Borer who, currently has 20 assists in his career as a Husky. "Especially since the guys voted me as captain, that is nice."
However, Borer says his main focus is not wearing the "C" on his jersey, but helping the Huskies to as much success on the ice this season as he possibly can.
"Being captain is a great honor, but it is not something you should dwell on," he said. "You just have to work on helping the team and doing the best job there is to get the best product on the ice. The main goal is to finish in the top five. We can't be satisfied with a seventh or eighth place finish, so we want to get up higher than that."
Being one of the oldest defenseman on the team, Borer also sees his job as helping the younger defensemen. Teammate Aaron Brocklehurst says that having a person like Borer on the team, especially as a captain, only serves to help the other players on the team in the long run.
"Casey brings a lot of things to the team, especially leadership," Brocklehurst said. "He is young, but he's got the knowledge of a great hockey player. He is offensive and he is defensive. He is just an all-around great player for us."
The Huskies aren't the only team that think Borer is an all-around great player — two other teams have either benefited from Borer's play on the ice or can't wait to see what he has to have. Last season, Borer was selected for 2005 United States National Junior Team, which played at the World Junior Championships in Grand Forks, N.D. under University of Minnesota-Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin.
Borer also got the chance to play with such standouts as Patrick O'Sullivan (in the Minnesota Wild system) and two players from this weekend's rival, Minnesota, in freshman dandy Phil Kessel and Alex Goligoski.
"The experience he gained by playing against some of the best players in his age bracket in the world is going to help him through his career," said Harbinson, who recruited Borer in high school. "It is a major accomplishment and nice for our program to have someone playing on that team."
Borer said that despite the U.S. team's fourth-place finish, overall the tournament was a great time.
"Wow, that is something that I'll take with me forever. It was unbelievable," Borer said. "We came up a little bit short (in losing to the Czech Republic 3-2 in overtime in the Bronze medal game), but the experience itself and the level of play was absolutely amazing."
In June 2004, Borer became the fifth highest Husky to ever be drafted in the NHL Entry Draft, when the Carolina Hurricanes selected him 69th in the third round. Ironically, the draft took place at RBC Arena in Raleigh, N.C., and 16,752 of Borer's new fans were in attendance.
Borer said waiting to hear his name announced was both stressful yet exciting.
"You consider yourself lucky to be in that situation, yet you don't want the teams to pass you by too rapidly. I was with my family so it was not too terribly stressful," Borer said. "Being (at RBC Arena for the draft), there was a nice little crowd there. It was definitely something special. It was fun and it was a special situation to be in to see your hard work pay off."
Borer said that his time spent at nationally recognized Shattuck-St. Mary's prep school in Faribault, Minn., before playing for the U.S. Hockey National Team Development Program, is one of the things that help set everything in motion for where he is now.
"Playing there is kind of what set everything in motion for myself," said Borer, who was named to the WCHA All-Academic team last season. "It got me out of regular high school in Brooklyn Park. I just learned so much about hockey and school there, that it kind of shaped my goals and aspirations."
For now, it is the Huskies who are thankful for Borer's services.
"He has a pretty good first couple of years here and we need him to have a few more good ones," Harbinson said. "The one thing I noticed in the recruiting process and I think it has carried over is that he is a very mature kid and he takes tries to lead by example."