POTSDAM — Clarkson University men's hockey captain Mark Borowiecki has decided to leave after his junior season and signed a contract with the Ottawa Senators organization Thursday.
Borowiecki, who just completed his final season with Clarkson last Saturday, will start his professional career with the American Hockey League's Binghamton Senators next week.
"It was weighing on me big-time," Borowiecki said regarding the difficulty of his decision. "I love all the guys there. It was three of the best years of my life. I talked to a lot of people. I talked to the (Clarkson) coaches, my parents, my agent, Ottawa. It seemed right now, with the direction (the Senators) are heading, the window of opportunity was right for me to make the step."
A defenseman, Borowiecki served as Clarkson's captain last season. He played in 31 games and provided three goals with eight assists. He played in 99 games in his career and had 12 goals and 20 assists.
"It's always tough when you lose a player of his caliber," Clarkson coach George Roll said. "For somebody on the outside, who doesn't see his everyday work habits, you don't realize the impact he has on our program."
While Roll regrets losing his best defenseman a year early, he was pleased with how Borowiecki dealt with the situation.
"It's a great opportunity for him," Roll said. "He was very forthright and honest about it. He handled it the way it should be handled. I'm happy for Mark. It's good for our program to move guys on to the next level. Selfishly, you would like him to stay. I did feel he was continuing on an upward path. I feel if he stayed another year it would not hurt him. His development has been very positive."
Borowiecki grew up in Kanata, Ontario, just a five-minute drive from the Senators' home rink, the Scotiabank Place. He was drafted by Ottawa in the building in the fifth round of the 2008 draft and as a kid even skated on the ice between periods during the first game ever played in the building, which opened in January, 1996.
"Hopefully I'll get the chance to make a step to the next level," Borowiecki said. "You aren't entitled to anything, especially at the pro level. I'll continue to work hard and play my game. They like that I'm a physical player, that I'm tough to play against. That's something I pride myself on. I'm going to try to continue to develop my game completely."
nNOTES:Borowiecki isn't the only Clarkson player to move to the pro level this week. SeniorsBrandon DeFazioandScott Freemanhave also begun their pro careers in the ECHL. Freeman is trying out with the Victoria Salmon Kings and DeFazio will be joining the Wheeling Nailers soon. DeFazio is expected to move up to the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins after a few games at Wheeling.