Hockey - Coach
This transplanted Canadian parlayed his considerable expertise as a professional hockey player into a successful career as a scholastic coach.
Born in Noranda, Quebec, in 1943, Borden Smith began his junior career with the Guelph Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League after getting drafted by the New York Rangers. In 1963, he was assigned to the Philadelphia Ramblers of the Eastern Hockey League and quickly made his mark in the pros. The young left winger scored 34 goals and was named EHL Rookie of the Year.
Smith spent the 1964-65 season with two different Rangers' affiliates, in St. Paul, Mo., and Springfield, Mass. However, late in 1965 he was traded to the Clinton Comets as part of a dramatic eight-player deal that included Coach Pat Kelly and goalie Ed Babiuk.
Smith joined a Comets' lineup that featured Jack Kane and Bill Bannerman, and the trio soon started an enviable scoring string that lasted seven seasons, culminating as the highest-scoring line in EHL history. The three skaters helped bring back-to-back Walker Cup Championships to Clinton in 1967-68 and 1968-69.
In 1967-68, Smith scored a team record 69 goals in 67 regular season games, plus 19 goals in the Walker Cup playoffs. He was voted an EHL first team all-star five years, and once to the EHL second team. By the end of the 1972-73 season, Smith had scored a team record 390 goals.
The 30-year-old winger wasn't finished yet. He went to the International Hockey League in Saginaw, Mich., in 1973, and concluded his playing career three years later.
Smith's tenure with the Comets had allowed him to establish longtime roots in the Mohawk Valley. He eventually returned here, settling down with his family in Whitesboro, and getting involved in youth hockey,
He became a coach and head of referees in the Whitesboro Youth Hockey League from 1983 until 1986 when he accepted a position as head coach at Whitesboro Central. His teams quickly produced.
The Warriors qualified for the Section III playoffs in each year that Smith coached, 1986-1993. They captured the Section III, Division II championship in 1986-87 and 1987-88.
Two members of Smith's 1992-93 team have now made it to the National Hockey League: Mark Mowers (Nashville Predators) and Robert Esche (Phoenix Coyotes).