Charity game planned for hockey player with head injury


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People in the rural municipality of Macdonald and surrounding area are banding together to raise money for Zack Borsboom, a 20-year-old hockey player for the Macdonald Swarm who suffered a serious head injury during a game against the Niverville Clippers on Feb. 3.

Besides an ongoing GoFundMe campaign (link at the bottom of this article), the Macdonald Swarm will play the Sanford Sabres in a charity game on March 17 at The Rink Training Centre (57 South Landing Dr. in Oak Bluff, Man.).

Everyone is invited to attend and support, with tickets priced at $10 each. Support tickets will be available, as well, for those who’d like to contribute more.

Borsboom’s mother, Lesley Rosenberry, who travelled from her home in the United States to help with her son’s recovery, said it’s been a very difficult time.

“It’s a very strange thing, to see my son not exactly the way he used to be,” she said. “He’s not — he’s not the same person.”

Rosenberry said the physical effects are hardly noticeable, but the neurological effects have completely altered the trajectory of Borsboom’s life, at least for the foreseeable future.

“And he’s aware of it. I mean, he kind of knows, but I don’t think he’s fully aware. I don’t think he could be,” Rosenberry said, as she drove to pick him up for one of many medical appointments.

Rosenberry said the long-term effects of the injury are unknown at this point, but doctors at the hospital were “not very optimistic that he would ever play sports again,” as they believed he couldn’t withstand another blow to the head.

“He still thinks he can play, but we’ve explained to him that — and I think he knows, but he’s just got it down in his heart that he eventually wants to play again one day,” she said.

The injury means Borsboom, who works as a carpenter, now requires seizure medications and his driver’s license has been suspended for medical reasons. It’s possible that he may never be able to return to his profession.

Sports and carpentry are two of Borsboom’s favourite things, so it’s bound to be a tough stretch for the 20-year-old.

But Rosenberry said her son is not the type to accept his fate quietly. He’ll try his hardest to battle back, and she said he’d like his injury to bring more awareness to the importance of safe hitting in hockey, as Rosenberry called the hit “illegal.”

Swarm head coach Darren Wiechern said the team was shaken up after the injury, and everyone was given an opportunity to decide if they wanted to continue playing or not. The team decided to continue and turned to a hockey game into an opportunity to raise money. With crossover in management between the Swarm and Sabres, the two teams decided to put on the charity game.

Wiechern said the tight-knit community is eager to step up for Borsboom, who’s “like a big teddy bear.”

“Honestly, he’s a super-kind, wholehearted guy,” Wiechern said.

If there’s any bright spot in this situation, it would be the show of love and concern from the community.

“It’s very nice to see,” Rosenberry said. “And it’s not only the hockey community, it’s the community we’ve lived in in Manitoba that’s come together and reached out and asked, what can we do? And that’s overwhelming for us, but more so it’s overwhelming for Zack, because he just can’t believe how many people care.”

To support Borsboom in his recovery, attend the charity game on March 17 or donate at

Cody Sellar

Cody Sellar
Community Journalist

Cody Sellar is the reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review West. He is a lifelong Winnipegger. He is a journalist, writer, sleuth, sloth, reader of books and lover of terse biographies. Email him at or call him at 204-697-7206.

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