BY Jim Fenton
Brockton Enterprise Staff Writer
EASTON — In the short time since he graduated from Stonehill College last month, Dana Borges has received plenty of good news.
First, the leading scorer on the Skyhawks' hockey team this season signed a contract to play for the Evry Peaux Rouges, a professional team in France, beginning in September.
Then, the Taunton resident and Coyle-Cassidy High School graduate was named the winner of the inaugural Northeast-10 Conference Man of the Year Award for leadership, service, athletics and academics.
On top of that, Borges became the 11th student-athlete and first hockey player at Stonehill to earn Academic All-America honors, making the second team after compiling a 3.75 grade-point average as a criminology major.
Four years of studying and playing hockey at Stonehill have been capped off in fine fashion for Borges, who graduated on May 19.
"I love Stonehill,'' said Borges, a captain of the hockey team. "I'm proud to be a Skyhawk. Stonehill was the perfect school for me. The friendships that I made, the teammates that I had, those are the things that are really important.
"The awards and all that stuff, that's secondary. It's my teammates, my friends, the administration, the coaches, the teachers, that's the stuff that made a difference in my four years.
"That's why I think I was so successful because I was surrounded by so many good people who were pushing for me to be the best and wanting the best for me.''
Borges had his best hockey season this past winter, leading the NE-10 in points (37) and assists (22) while scoring 15 goals to finish with career totals of 29 goals, 58 assists and 87 points.
That strong finish helped Borges land a spot on the Peaux Rouges, one of 18 teams in the French Federation of Ice Hockey. He will be based 20 minutes south of Paris with the regular season going from September until February.
"I can't wait,'' said Borges, a two-time Enterprise All-Scholastic. "It's an unbelievable opportunity. Outside of hockey, I'll get to experience a whole new culture. I'll broaden my horizons. To see another country and experience another culture is something I'm really looking forward to.
"It's unbelievable. The fact that I can kind of say when I want to stop playing instead of what NCAA regulations dictate after four years, that's probably my favorite thing. I can play until I'm done with it and then pursue other activities in my life.
"I thought it was realistic after I started having the year I had. Ability-wise, I always thought I could, but you've got to have the numbers to back it up and I had really good numbers this year.''
The NE-10 Man of the Year Award has special meaning for Borges since it covers athletics, academics and leadership.
"That is probably the best recognition I have received because it encompasses everything,'' said Borges, the Edward E Martin Male Scholar-Athlete Award winner at Stonehill. "It recognizes my full body of work.
"I want to be considered a leader, a friend, a teammate, a good student. That award has everything. It's really a great honor and something I'm pretty proud of.''
Borges, who also received the Father John McCarthy, C.S.C. Leadership Award at Stonehill, was a top student throughout his stay in college, finishing it off with an Academic All-America honor.
"That's really a great award,'' said Borges. "You have to be a really good student and perform on the athletic field or ice. I prided myself in being a good student-athlete, getting a good education, working hard in the classroom and being the best I could on the ice.''
Now, Borges is moving on to a new chapter of his life, preparing to leave late in the summer for Europe where he will be a professional hockey play, far from life at Stonehill.
"I was thinking the other day it was only four years ago I was going into orientation, all excited and now it's over,'' said Borges. "I don't think it's hit me yet. It'll hit me in the summer or when I'm in France.''