Catching Up With Will Borgen — another success story

by Legacy Hockey

Will Borgen of Moorhead, who played two seasons of Upper Midwest High School Elite League Hockey for the team now known as Sanford Power, is currently a member of the NHL's Seattle Kraken. Elite League photo by Loren Nelson, NHL photo courtesy of the Seattle Kraken.

There’s no such thing as half-measures in Will Borgen’s world. When Borgen commits to something, he’s all in. And then some.

As those who know him best can attest, Borgen will sometimes go to extremes to fulfill certain obligations. Such as the time the Moorhead native sprinted into New Hope Ice Arena fully dressed, including skates, hustled down the South Rink’s steep set of stairs and stepped onto the ice just minutes before his Upper Midwest High School Elite League game was about to start.

“Will was also a soccer player, and they had a game on the road, I want to say it was in Brainerd, that afternoon,” Sanford Power coach Scott Oliver said about Borgen, a Moorhead native now playing in the NHL for the Seattle Kraken. “We played early in the evening that day. He said, ‘I’m going to be there coach.’ I thought, ‘Well, OK. I don’t know how he is going to do that, but OK.’ ”

Borgen was nowhere to be seen during pregame preparations, including most all of the seven-minute warmup session which, in the Elite League, comes directly before opening puck drop. Oliver and his staff were fully prepared to play with five defensemen instead of the customary six when assistant coach Chad Hommerding alertly shared a most remarkable development.

“We’ve got about two minutes left in warmups when Chad says, ‘Look who is coming down the stairs,’ ” Oliver said. “Oh my goodness. He had all his equipment on … I think he had an old pair of hockey socks wrapped around his skates. He comes down, skates a couple of laps and says, ‘I’m ready, coach.’ 

“He knew he was running late so he got dressed in his mom’s van as they drove to the game. Who does that? That to me spoke volumes about who he was and his level of commitment.”

While starring at Moorhead as a multisport athlete, Borgen played two seasons in the Elite League. 

“With soccer, I would always miss the first game of the Elite League,” Borgen said. “I would miss that first Saturday game and one of my parents would drive down to the Cities from wherever I was playing and I would make that next game.”

As a stay-at-home defenseman Borgen totaled five goals and 12 assists in 36 Elite League games. More memorably to him, he made lasting friendships with many of his teammates.   

“The Elite League was great,” said Borgen, who went straight from high school to St. Cloud State University, where he played three seasons. “I think us northern teams, we all really connected as players because we ended up staying in hotels together on the weekends. Making all these friendships with guys who end up being enemies during the high school season, it was really a lot of fun.”

Borgen became good friends with Taner Bender of Grand Forks and Eric Leach of Fargo. Same with Jade Miller of Minot and Warroad's Luke Jaycox and Kobe Roth

“For some reason I was close with the North Dakota guys,” said Borgen, who says he still connects with many of his former Elite League teammates in the summer at concerts and other gatherings.

Borgen’s dedication to friends and family was reciprocated last April when he was the object of affection for two massive Moorhead-based cheering sections at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul when the Kraken played the Minnesota Wild. He was selected in the fourth round, 92nd overall, by the Buffalo Sabres in the 2015 NHL Draft and was picked from the Sabres by the Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion draft.

“The St. Paul game was very fun,” Borgen said. “I had aunts, uncles, cousins and just a bunch of people who came down from Moorhead. We had a flight to Dallas we had to catch after the game, so I was running from one end of the rink to the other end of the rink to see everyone.”

Sounds like vintage Borgen, sprinting in and around an arena to, you know, honor his commitments.