Macdonald player recovering after scary HTJHL injury


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A hockey jersey sponsorship may have been the difference between life and death earlier this season in Sanford.

It was a terrifying scene as the Macdonald Swarm and Niverville Clippers faced off for one of the final regular season games of the Hanover-Tache Junior Hockey League (HTJHL) Feb. 3.

Those who watched the hit described how Macdonald forward Zack Borsboom dumped the puck into the offensive zone as he crossed the blue line in the Sanford arena and was caught with a shoulder-to-shoulder hit 5-10 feet away from the boards.

Borsboom was thrown violently head-first into the boards with the game suddenly becoming a second thought, as first responders rushed to the aid of the injured player, cutting him out of his equipment, loading him onto a stretcher and taking him to hospital.

Some of the first people to come to Borsboom’s aid were members of the Macdonald Fire Department, which sponsor the Swarm’s jerseys and were in attendance to watch their hometown team.

Swarm head coach Daniel Paseschnikoff, himself a member of the volunteer fire program in Macdonald, was behind the bench when Borsboom was injured, noting that his player was back from hospital earlier in the week after a playoff game against Red River Feb. 17.

“You don’t want to see a kid get hurt, and obviously it’s going to leave a scar on the team,” he said.

“We can learn from it, and grow as a team from it.”

Macdonald fire chief Mike Siemens was in the Sanford arena when the hit happened, bringing more than 30 years of experience to the ice, with Paseschnikoff noting he was glad Siemens was there to lend a hand.

“I’m so grateful they were there, they were a huge part of getting him off the ice,” Paseschnikoff said.

Macdonald coaches reported Borsboom had a severe skull fracture with multiple brain bleeds, even suffering seizures as he was taken off the ice. Borsboom was rushed to hospital in Winnipeg, where his survival was up in the air for a time.

“It was just bad positioning,” Paseschnikoff said of the hit.

“It’s part of the game, you never know when something like that is going to happen. I know Zack’s not going to try and do that again.”

Macdonald’s playoff opponent also lent a hand towards Borsboom’s recovery. The Red River Mudbugs donated the proceeds of their 50/50 draws, and each winner has donated their portion as well.

Before game five, Red River had raised nearly $1,000. The league is also planning to provide support, with the executive working to see what they can do to help with family travel costs.

Paseschnikoff said in his conversations with Borsboom, the player is projecting a return to the ice, although he won’t get a chance to see his team advance in the HTJHL playoffs. Macdonald was eliminated after a game five loss in Red River.

The Swarm were a much better team in the playoffs than the regular season, winning two games against the second-seeded Mudbugs, despite finishing with three wins this season.

“He’s eager to get back out, he’s always asking about the guys,” Paseschnikoff said, laughing.

“I’m glad he’s okay, but other than that he’s got a big recovery ahead of him and we’re all here to support him.”

Macdonald has only been a part of the HTJHL for two years, and getting support from the community has been key.

“(The fire association) has been very supportive helping us out, especially with the sponsorship, I couldn’t be more grateful,” Paseschnikoff said.

“It’s awesome being part of that program.”

Red River will play Niverville in the HTJHL semi-finals, with top-seeded Steinbach facing Springfield.

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