While Rink and Run was diligently covering the NCAA Division I women’s championship game Sunday in Minneapolis, Jimmy Bellamy of the News Tribune caught up on the news of UMD junior winger Rob Bordson of Duluth signing with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Here is Jimmy’s story:
Minnesota Duluth junior left winger and Duluth native Rob Bordson has signed a free-agent contract Sunday with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks, and will forgo his senior season.
Bordson, 21, signed a prorated two-year deal worth approximately $900,000 per season — the maximum for a 22-year-old free-agent signee; he will be 22 on June 9 — if he remains with the NHL club. Bordson will report to the team in Anaheim later this week and be with the Ducks the remainder of the regular season.
"I had a pretty busy day and some tough decisions, but at the end of the day I’ve always wanted to play professional hockey. It was a tough decision leaving my hometown and college, but it was too good of an offer to pass up," Bordson said Sunday night. "Nothing would have been guaranteed for next year. I think it was time to move on and take that next step in my career."
Bordson, a 2006 Duluth Marshall graduate and former Duluth Denfeld High School student, had a career-high 40 points (12 goals, 28 assists) in 40 games after playing in 15 games with no points as a sophomore in 2008-09.
Bordson said it was tough breaking the news to the Bulldogs coaching staff.
"It was definitely very difficult. I love everyone at UMD. They were very professional about it, very supportive. They were very helpful. It was tough leaving them," he said. "Everyone wants to be a professional hockey player. I think it was the time to do it."
Anaheim (33-29-8) is 13th in the Western Conference with 74 points, nine points back of the eighth and final playoff spot with 14 games remaining. If the Ducks make the postseason, Bordson will not be eligible to play due to joining the team after the playoff-eligibility cutoff.
The Ducks begin a three-game road trip through Canada on Tuesday, playing at Calgary, Vancouver (Wednesday) and Edmonton (Friday).
Bordson, 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, spent a year in the United States Hockey League playing for Cedar Rapids (Iowa) before joining UMD in 2007-08.
Bordson soon will share a locker room with players he previously played as in video games not that long ago.
"The past few hours, I’ve been thinking about that stuff," he said. "Guys like [Ryan] Getzlaf and [Scott] Niedermayer, who just won a gold medal with Canada. My whole life I’ve been watching these guys play. And Teemu Selanne, he’s definitely the franchise player for them.
"It’s gonna be pretty cool. I can’t wait to get out there and meet those guys and get on the ice and get some tips and advice. There’s some pretty good veterans. I’m really looking forward to meeting everyone in that organization."