Anthony Cittadino, Sports Editor
Hockey in Utica has always been extremely popular within the community. Many high schools in the area have won state championships, Utica has been the home for two professional hockey teams and Utica College hockey is always something to look forward to around here. For sophomore defenseman, Zach Borsoi, Utica was the right fit for him coming all the way from Montreal, Quebec where hockey is a way of life.
Borsoi started playing at the age of four in Canada, which is around the time when the majority of children take the ice for the first time. While growing up, Borsoi never stopped playing which earned him playing time on the next level, juniors. Juniors in Canada and America is considered a level above high school as amateurs. This is a path that many young hockey players take to receive better recruitment for the college level.
Borsoi spent four years in the junior system with three different teams. The first three years of Borsoi’s juniors career was spent with the Sherbrooke Cougars close to home in Quebec. His last season was split between the Pembroke Lumber Kings and the Gloucester Rangers which are both located in Ontario. He logged in 194 games over four years with 99 total points off of 25 goals and 74 assists. After a truly impressive juniors campaign, Borsoi was heavily recruited by UC.
“I recruited Zach. I followed him closely for two years. His size and offensive blue line skills made him very noticeable in junior hockey,” head coach, Gary Heenan said. Heenan saw potential in Borsoi and it paid off for his first season with six assists and four blocks on the defensive end.
As an international student, it was not much of a transition for Borsoi, “For school, it wasn’t much different. I guess school is similar wherever you go,” Borsoi said. “For hockey, it wasn’t much different either. Organized hockey is different based on the coach and the level. The college level compared to the junior level is different, but for the most part I’ve felt pretty comfortable with the change.”
Once Borsoi got a taste of hockey in Utica, his choice for college was fairly simple. “Yeah, I’m very happy I chose UC. I committed on my visit in May. I spoke to coach Heenan and saw one of the Comets games which weighed on my decision,” Borsoi said. “Once I saw the Aud I thought to myself, this would be a great place to play and plus the program for PT here is great so I loved it.”
The sophomore is looking forward to another season on the ice with the Pioneers and thinks they’re in for great one, “Yeah, the guys are looking good. We replaced a couple of guys from last year, all the freshmen look good. The team overall looks sharp, so hopefully we’ll do well, I mean we don’t have a choice because we are hosting nationals.”
The men’s hockey team will kick off their season on Oct. 28 against Fredonia and will host their home opener the following evening against Plymouth State University. The Pioneers look to take full advantage of home ice for the national tournament. It’s safe to say that they have their work cut out for them.