NCHC suspends Will Borgen


Dakota Student / Nicholas Nelson

Defender Tucker Poolman faces off against St. Cloud State last season at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Jack Harvey, Staff Writer

This weekend, the UND Fighting Hawks will be hosting the St. Cloud Huskies in the first round of the NCHC tournament, but the Huskies will be a man short.

During the Huskies’ last regular season series, defenseman Will Borgen, argued a slashing penalty called against him which led him to shove the referee. The shove resulted in a game misconduct and now a two game suspension.

“Unfortunate evening,” SCSU head coach Bob Motzko said. “I think it’s one of those things in life where you’d like that moment back. What’s fortunate, for us, is we’ve got a guy who can go right in and fill a lot of those minutes with a lot of experience.”

Borgen has tallied only two goals this season but has notched 10 assists to sit 10th in points for the Huskies.

He’s been great for us all year… He’s an awesome teammate and awesome guy off the ice, Everyone makes mistakes and (Borgen) feels horrible about it. We’re just going to have to deal with the adversity.

— Jimmy Shuldt, St. Cloud State Huskies Captain

The hit in question was deemed through the conference’s supplemental discipline review process, it was found Borgen violated Rule 40 (Abuse of Officials) and Rule 41 (Physical Abuse of Officials) of the NCAA Rules and Interpretations.

In addition, the actions were found contrary to the NCHC Student-Athlete Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct explicitly states  student-athletes are to be respectful of officials at all times and should not demonstrably question the decisions of game officials.

Several suspensions have been issued by the NCHC this season, but none have gone over two games. It might seem ridiculous compared to the ten game suspension Anaheim Ducks’ Antoine Vermette received for slashing the referee but there are a few things kept in mind.

Despite how light the slash was, NHL will automatically suspend a player ten games for hitting a referee. Secondly, an NHL team has 82 regular season games as compared to the 35 played by the Fighting Hawks this season.

The NCHC issued a one game suspension in January to Minnesota Duluth defenseman,Willie Raskob, for an illegal hit. Raskob was assessed a major penalty for contact to the head, elbowing and a game misconduct during.

Similar to the NHL, you’ll get a slap on the wrist suspension if you illegally hit a player or do something like trying to spear out a player’s eye, but you can expect heavier penalties for making contact to an official.

You’d think at this point I’d agree with the suspension. Only two games for a shove, referee was not injured, lesson learned.

To me, the suspension should’ve been more than two games. You can’t make bonehead decision like shoving a referee in the final game of the season. He’ll be sitting out the first two games of the best of three series, but what if they go to game three?

Borgen can come back and be a potential factor in the game. Or if SCSU sweeps UND, he can be back for the frozen face-off to try and push the Huskies to the national championship.

At first, I felt he should’ve been suspended the entire NCHC tournament. That’s a total of two to potentially five games he could not contribute to, it felt maybe too harsh of a suspension.

After further consideration, there really isn’t a perfect suspension time. This is something we shouldn’t be having to consider. Respect for the officials should be league wide regardless of their calls and the emotions on the ice.

“(Borgen) knows he shouldn’t have done it, but he got caught up in the heat of the moment. He’ll definitely learn from it. Another motivation for us is we want to get (Borgen) back and we don’t want him to be sitting out the last games of the season,” Huskies sophomore captain Jimmy Schuldt said. “He’s been great for us all year… He’s an awesome teammate and awesome guy off the ice, Everyone makes mistakes and (Borgen) feels horrible about it. We’re just going to have to deal with the adversity.”

Borgen’s decision to shove the referee shows a lack of respect to the officials and to the game. Fortunately for the official, there was no injury sustained, but unfortunately the Huskies will now face the Fighting Hawks without one of their key contributors.

Jack Harvey is a staff writer for Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]