Back to Campus: Rob O'Gara
Defenseman Gets Best of Both Worlds At Yale
BostonBruins.com — Before Rob O’Gara knew he might have a future in hockey, and before he began playing for a prep team, he had other things on his mind. First and foremost was an education. So O’Gara visited Yale, and loved it.
Now, after three years of prep hockey and a year of high school puck under his belt, O’Gara is back in New Haven, Conn. at the school he fell in love with, ready to excel in the classroom and on the ice.
"I was just visiting schools, strictly academically," said O’Gara, who played last season at Milton Academy. "At that point, I hadn’t had that much going on in terms of hockey, and I visited Yale, and I loved it.
"And then, getting to know the program, and the coaching staff, and looking at it from a hockey standpoint later on, it was really a no-brainer.
"My parents have always stressed education, and to have like, really the best of both worlds here, it’s perfect for me."
O’Gara, selected by the Bruins in the 2011 Entry Draft (5th Round, 151st overall), is just beginning his first semester as a freshman at the Ivy League college. Having attended Bruins development camp the past two summers, O’Gara received some key advice from Bruins Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney.
"He obviously went the same route, and to Harvard too," O’Gara said.
Sweeney also played prep hockey before joining the ranks of the Ivy League, and then went on to have a very successful professional career with the B’s, a path O’Gara is trying to match.
"So he—because a lot of guys doing different things—he just said that [the Bruins] are very comfortable with the route I’m taking, and I mean obviously you’ve got to work as hard as you can all the time to make sure you’re developing," O’Gara said.
Of course, the pleasantries weren’t all so constructive, as O’Gara said Sweeney gave him a little bit of a hard time, from Crimson to Bulldog.
"I mean, of course a little bit, because he’s a Harvard guy," O’Gara said chuckling. "But it’s a great program, and the coaching staff is awesome here so, I think he’s really excited, and I know I’m very excited to get going here."
During this past summer's Development Camp (and, apparently, despite Robbie's choice of college) Sweeney had plenty of positive things to say about the defensive prospect.
"I think Robbie’s made some really good strides," Sweeney said during camp. "He’s got a lot of great tools at work and he’s a great kid. He’s conscientious."
O’Gara, hoping to one day make it with the B’s, is no stranger to the incredible atmosphere the TD Garden faithful can create.
When the Bruins won the Cup in 2011, O’Gara said he attended Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Tampa Bay, a 3-2 Boston victory.
"It was unbelievable," O’Gara recalled. "But then, I mean everyone there is the biggest die-hard Bruins fan.
"Being in that atmosphere, and then having the privilege of saying I got drafted by them was incredible. It was really special.
"Being up there in the midst of all that, and then having that happen, I mean it’s really indescribable."