Better late than never for Sens pick
Kanata native lives his dream a short drive away at Scotiabank Place
The Ottawa Senators' fifth-round selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft decided against making the 10-minute drive from his Kanata home to Scotiabank Place to watch Day 2 of the event. Even if he'd recently learned there was a good chance he'd be a late-round pick.
"I've had some bad experiences with drafts in the past," a beaming Borowiecki said, wearing the Senators jersey he threw on after making his late arrival at the rink. "I was passed over in the OHL draft in my draft year and I was passed over in the Tier II (Central Junior Hockey League) draft this year.
"I'd heard some talk about maybe going in the later rounds but I decided to stay home. Some teams I talked to told me to leave my cellphone on. It worked out perfect, though."
Instead, he sat nervously at home in front of the computer, repeatedly hitting the refresh button on NHL.com's draft page. Borowiecki was in the garage when he heard his parents, Tom and Cynthia, scream with delight after they learned their son had been drafted. He ran back into the house and "I just couldn't believe it when it said Ottawa (beside his name)."
"(My parents) were crying," said Borowiecki, a life-long Senators fan who played for the CJHL's Smiths Falls Bears last season. "It's a dream come true and every kid growing up wants it to happen. It just makes it sweeter when it's your hometown team, the team you've been growing up watching. It's an honour."
Borowieki, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound defenceman, has accepted a hockey scholarship from Clarkson University and the Senators are happy to let him head to nearby Potsdam, N.Y., to keep maturing as a player.
"Aside from today, that was probably the happiest day of my life, achieving that goal (of a scholarship)," said the CJHL's top defenceman last season. "It's been an amazing year."
Karlsson carrying the Senators banner
It hasn't taken long for Erik Karlsson to become one of the Senators' biggest ambassadors.
Ottawa's first-round pick in the entry draft was on hand for Day 2 of the proceedings all day Saturday at Scotiabank Place, doing a morning round of interviews before meeting and greeting some fans and hanging around the team's draft table.
He even give the Senators' scouting staff the thumbs up when they decided to make forward Andre Petersson one of their fourth-round picks (109th overall). Then again, Karlsson has a little bit of insight into his fellow Swede's background: They roomed together earlier this season with Sweden's national under-18 team.
"He's a great guy, always happy," said Karlsson. "As a player, what can I say, his hands are amazing. What he can do with the puck, not many people can do it so fast.
"If he gets one chance to score, he'll score nine times out of 10."
They share plenty of roots in the game.
"We came from the same area (of Sweden)," said Karlsson. "We played on a team back home for three years and I've known him for five years now. We played on the national team together.... We talk on the phone almost every day. I know him really well."
Petersson no doubt appreciated Saturday's phone call most of all.
"I was the one that sent him the good news," said Karlsson. "He was really thrilled, really excited and really happy that Ottawa picked him. Who knew that me and him were going to be drafted by the same team? It's unbelievable."
Ask and you shall receive
Patrick Wiercioch had a hunch when he walked into Scotiabank Place on Saturday.
"I was asked (before Day 2 of the draft began) which team I wanted to go to by one of the ladies stamping tickets," said the 17-year-old from Maple Ridge, B.C. "I said Ottawa. Maybe it was a good choice."
The Senators surely agreed, grabbing the 6-foot-2 defenceman with their second-round pick (42nd overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. It was a coup in the eyes of the team's scouts, who snared a player that helped the Omaha Lancers win the United States Hockey League title last season after a broken thumb sidelined him for nearly two months.
"A lot of guys didn't see him," said Senators scout Bob Janecyk. "He missed quite a bit of time, he had surgery on his thumb. When he came back, he was the best player in the league."
Wiercioch is headed to the University of Wisconsin on a hockey scholarship in the fall. And yes, he knows Senators sniper Dany Heatley once wore Badger colours. He can't wait to join Heatley in an Ottawa uniform and calls Ottawa "a great fit" for him.
"It's everything," Wiercioch said when asked about being drafted by a Canadian team. "Being a Canadian boy, I love the game more as a fan than I do as a player. Whoever makes it to the (Stanley Cup) final, whether it's a west or an east team, I'm always cheering for the Canadian team to win."