Boys Hockey: The search for a new Warrior coach begins

After two seasons, Brainerd Warriors head coach Howie Borden will not return to the boys' hockey bench.

Brainerd Warrior hockey coach Howie Borden talks to a player.
Brainerd Warrior head hockey coach Howie Borden gives instructions to a player during their game with St. Michael-Albertville on Jan. 17, 2023.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — As part of its consent agenda Monday, April 10, the Brainerd School Board voted to not renew the contract of Brainerd Warriors boys’ head coach Howie Borden at its board meeting.

The decision to not renew Borden’s contract was made by Brainerd activities director Jack Freeman.

“After much thought and reflection, I have made the decision to pursue a change in leadership for our boys’ hockey program,” Freeman wrote in a statement. “We would like to extend our sincere thanks to coach Borden for his commitment to our program the past two years. The time and energy he has dedicated to the program are recognized and appreciated. We wish him nothing but the best going forward.

“I look forward to beginning the search for our next boys’ head hockey coach.”

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Brainerd finished the 2022-23 season with an 11-13-3 overall record. The Warriors were 5-6 in the Central Lakes Conference. Brainerd received the No. 9 seed for the Section 8-2A playoffs, but pulled off an upset of No. 8 St. Cloud in the section play-in game. The Warriors' season ended with a 6-2 loss to No. 1 seed Moorhead in the quarterfinals.


In Borden’s first season as head coach , Brainerd finished 6-19-2 overall and 4-4-2 in the conference.

The Warriors were again the No. 9 seed for the section playoffs, but pulled off the 3-2 overtime upset of St. Cloud in the play-in game before losing to No. 1 seeded Moorhead 7-0 in the section quarterfinals.

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“I personally believe in this team’s abilities and potential next season,” Borden said in a statement. “The team is full of leaders and players of solid character. I believe their success is contributed to the effort and hard work put forth every day by the players, assistant coaches and other support staff.

“The team has 16 varsity contributors set to return with one goalie, six defensemen and nine forwards. With a good summer of training, they will hit the ice competing. I wish each player nothing but the best and hope to see them play for a Section 8-2A championship.”

Borden said a few hockey opportunities have already presented themselves, but his focus is on his family and especially his 19-month-old son, who Borden described as “full of energy and curiosity.”

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or Follow on Twitter at

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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