Mark Borowiecki ordinarily helps keep Ottawa Senators opponents from scoring goals, but Sunday he stopped a crime from taking place.
The Ottawa defenseman stymied a burglary in the Gastown district of Vancouver on his day off before the Senators played the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.
Borowiecki was headed back to the Senators hotel after eating lunch with teammates Mikkel Boedker and Dylan DeMelo, and stopped to do some shopping for his newborn baby when he saw a suspicious man break the passenger-side window of a car.
"I see [the man] and hear this huge bang and just hear this blue Chevy Impala passenger-side window just shatter," Borowiecki said Tuesday about the incident. "I yelled out 'Hey!' and I see him wrestling this huge hiking backpack, and I yelled at him to put the backpack down, and he was kind of yelling and swearing at me, telling me to go away."
Borowiecki crossed the street to confront the burglar, who tried to speed away on a bike. But Borowiecki hooked arms with the man, knocked him off the bicycle, and recovered the backpack, which had passports, among other items, inside.
"I don't know if I would have been able to do anything like if I even saw that," DeMelo said. "I was saying like, I think I would just say, 'Hey, someone's doing something bad, get some help.' I wouldn't think of going over and actually taking the guy off his bike and doing that, so it's pretty funny and yeah, he was legit with us five minutes before that, so I guess I missed out."
Borowiecki stayed with the car until police arrived and provided them with a statement. He later received a text from the car owner, a woman who expressed her gratitude for his good deed even though she may not appreciate the hockey team he plays for.
"I got a text at lunch, and she sent me a nice text telling me how thankful and grateful she was," Borowiecki said. "Then she sent me a tweet and said 'My brother just sent this to me, is this you?' and I was like, 'Yeah,' and she said, 'Actually I'm a huge [Toronto Maple] Leafs fan.'"
Borowiecki said his wife Tara was proud of him, and his Senators teammates were unsurprised that he went above and beyond to help a stranger, but he simply felt fortunate to be in a position to help.
"I was thankful I was there," Borowiecki said. "Obviously there were other people around, but some people aren't sure how to react or confident in their own physical abilities. I'm a mediocre fighter on the ice but am very confident handling myself off the ice.
"I was just at the right place at the right time."
NHL.com independent correspondent Kevin Woodley contributed to this report