'I wasn't gonna let it happen': Ottawa Senators tough guy takes down thief in Vancouver
VANCOUVER -- Ottawa Senators defenceman Mark Borowiecki is no stranger to dropping the gloves, describing himself as a "mediocre fighter on the ice, but very confident handling myself off the ice."
He proved that during a day off in Vancouver Sunday, when he saw a man smash the passenger window of a car in Gastown.
"I look over and yelled, Hey! And I see him wrestle this big hiking backpack out of the front, can't quite get it out," Borowiecki told CTV News. "I yelled at him from across the street and was like, Put the bag down, bro."
Borowiecki warned the man several times to stop, but the thief swore at him while continuing to pull the backpack out of the broken car window. He then got back on his bike and began pedalling straight at Borowiecki.
But if the thief thought the hockey player would get out of his way, he was sorely mistaken.
"My first thought was if I absolutely destroy this guy and he gets hurt, what are the legal ramifications for me? Because I could have done some damage. So I was like, try to do this as gently as I can," recounted Borowiecki. "I just like hooked my left under his arm and pulled him of the bike to the ground."
After clotheslining the man, Borowiecki grabbed the stolen backpack. But he didn’t hold the thief, who rode away on his bike.
"Honestly, my first instinct was don't hurt this guy too badly. And then when I had him I was just thinking OK, if he does pull a knife I'm going to end this quickly. It didn’t have to go to that thankfully," said Borowiecki. "I didn’t know if I injured him what would happen, so I figured just get the bag back."
Teammates aren’t surprised the defenceman nicknamed “Borocop” stepped in to stop the thief when so many onlookers didn’t.
"That’s just the type of person he is," said fellow Senators defenceman Dylan DeMelo. "I guess he doesn’t just do it on the ice, he does it off the ice as well."
"It takes a lot courage to just stop someone, you never know if the person is going to have a knife or anything," said centre Jean-Gabriel Pageau. "He just reacted with his big heart."
After speaking to police, Borowiecki gave officers his cell number to pass on to the owner of the backpack. And on Monday, he heard from her.
"She sent me a nice text, thankful and grateful," said Borowiecki. "She was like I'm actually a huge Leafs fan. So I was like, I can forgive a couple of Leaf fans."
He may be her hero, but Borowiecki doesn’t think he did anything to earn him that title.
"I didn’t do anything above and beyond, it was just the right thing to do. The guy was taking a bag, and I wasn't gonna let it happen."