Kansas City Mavericks assistant coach Kohl Schultz was recently looking over a list of free agents when he saw the name Rob Bordson, the latest offseason signee for the ECHL team.
Schultz did a little homework and saw that the forward had played with former Maverick Darren Nowick in Sweden.
“So I made a call to Nowie (Nowick) and asked him about Rob,” Schultz said, “and he said he’s a great player and an even better person.”
So Schultz gave Bordson a call, sent him a team pamphlet about the Mavericks and the Kansas City area and hoped for the best.
“I was really impressed with Kohl,” Bordson said Wednesday night by phone from his home in Duluth, Minnesota. “We talked quite a while and I was honest with him. My wife Halle and I were thinking about going back to Europe, but I really enjoyed talking to Kohl and liked everything about the Mavericks and the Kansas City area.
“So I talked with Coach (Tad) O’Had and I was really impressed with him. He seems like a player’s coach, but a real straight shooter. He wants to build something special in Kansas City and I want to be a part of it.”
The verteran forward has enjoyed a career that has spanned the ECHL, American Hockey League and a trio of three elite European leagues.
In 380 career AHL games spanning six seasons, the 6-foot-2, 201-pound 32-year-old totaled 127 points on 50 goals and 77 assists.
In his ECHL career, Bordson is nearly a point-and-a-half-per-game player, scoring 26 goals and tallying 43 assists for 69 points in just 47 games.
“Adding him is a game-changer,” O’Had said. “Rob possesses so many great qualities. His leadership, skill and work ethic are pillars of a successful career in the AHL and top leagues in Europe.”
In his last ECHL season, Bordson had 18 points on nine goals and nine assists in nine games for the Adirondack Thunder in 2015-16. He also played with the AHL’s Providence Bruins and Iowa Wild that season.
He has spent the last four seasons in Europe, playing in the Swedish, Danish and German elite leagues, scoring 21 goals and compiling 71 assists for 92 points in 124 games.
Last season for Västerviks IK in Sweden, Bordson had 34 points on 10 goals and 24 assists in 38 games. He also played part of last season with HPK Hameenlinna with four assists in 10 games in a top Finland league.
He also played in the German elite league for the Fischtown Pinguins (2016-17) and Duesseldorf EG (2017-18).
“He’s got over 400 games in top leagues in the world,” O’Had added. “He’s fast, plays with skill and leads on and off the ice. He will bring the Orange Army to the edge of their seat.”
Schultz shares his coach’s enthusiasm.
“His veteran leadership, relentless work ethic and level of character will be invaluable to our dressing room,” Schultz said. “We expect him to inject his leadership into the room immediately. His size, demeanor and scoring touch will be so valuable to us here, but also will help develop our players to their highest potential.”
And that commodity excites Bordson.
“I want Coach O’Had and Kohl to push me, and I want to do all I can to push our younger players and let them know what it takes to build a winning team,” Bordson said.
“It just takes a few key offseason additions to help a franchise rise to the top of its league, and I believe we can accomplish that in Kansas City. The organization, the rink, the fans, the coaches – all are top notch. And I can’t wait to be a part of it.”