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Thursday, April 8, 2010


 For some reason the Carolina Hurricanes hockey team has had a tradition for amazing players who are also awesome people. Those of you who have been with me over the years have heard of guys like Gary Roberts, Rod Brind'Amour, and Scott Walker. I've only been to North Carolina once, but there is just SOMETHING about this team. A lot of guys get their just desserts by playing for this percolator of redemption. If the best revenge is living well, then throwaways like Sergei Samsonov and Jussi Jokinen are proving that sometimes a guy just needs his chance to shine. They aren't going to play for the ultimate prize this year, but they've earned a fan in me.

  Tonight I had the privilege of witnessing a new reason why anyone who digs pro sport should take a look at these boys in the future. Casey Borer is an unknown kid from Minnesota who played his first game of the season with the big boys, and he is EXACTLY what I'm talking about.
  Casey was called up as an emergency replacement and didn't score a point or beat anyone up, but he is amazing. You see, this nondescript defensive-minded guy is a SURVIVOR. 14 months ago this kid broke his neck in a team bus accident while a member of the Albany River Rats minor pro squad. His season was ended and he could have easily been paralyzed or killed. Certainly, not too many guys return to playing pro hockey after such and injury, and in the vein of the aforementioned Gary Roberts , he did.
But that isn't all. This horrific injury was sustained a mere 10 months after he destroyed his right knee and had major reconstructive surgery.
Casey Borer is a 24 year old kid who took the hard path to his success. He was eschewed by major junior teams and played college hockey in a way that few guys play anymore - team FIRST. He's a defensive d-man who doesn't get the headlines and makes roughly what an accountant does, but he loves the intellectual part of the game and to prove people wrong. He's one of roughly 900 guys to don the blades of an NHL team this year, but he is one of a kind.

  Number 53 is proof that determination can realize dreams. Even if he never plays another game in the bigs, he has made his mark by living the example and is a true reason why we should never give up the good fight. My nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Award is Casey Borer of the Carolina Hurricanes and now you all know why. Hopefully we all get to see you shutting them down for the next decade.

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