WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Milton Academy's Rob O'Gara just graduated high school. but he's already a veteran of Boston Bruins development camp.
For the second straight summer, the Nesconset, N.Y. native is skating in the camp alongside the organization's top prospects.
A year ago, O'Gara was selected in the fifth round (151st) of the NHL Entry Draft by the Bruins. Next season, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound blue-liner will skate at Yale.
On Thursday, O'Gara was back at Wilmington's Ristuccia Center to get back to work under the watchful eye of Bruins brass and assistant general manager Don Sweeney. We caught up with him after the team's morning practice for this Q-and-A:
Q: You were part of a NEPSAC championship team in 2010-11, but you chose to go back for another year and the team had a tough year last year. What did you learn from that experience?
A: "That was the biggest thing, being a leader to that group of guys, being able to show them the ropes right off the bat, getting into the weight program in the fall. Sort of that whole experience of being that leader, I learned a lot in that sense. From a hockey sense, I got play more of an offensive role than I did in the past because I consider myself more of a stay-at-home defenseman. I was able to run the power play and learn a lot about that element of the game, that was very helpful."
Q: What will you take from your time at Milton Academy?
A: "From the time going into Milton [to now], I feel like a completely different person. I learned so much about myself, what I can do. I think that's the biggest thing, gaining confidence to go after my goals
Q: What do you take from the experience of going through development camp last year to this year's camp?
A: "I knew sort of what to expect. On the first day last year, we tested right away in the morning We hit that pretty and it was hell. So I tried to prepare myself the best that I could for that. I've been hitting the gym a lot and getting on the ice, trying to get my feet back under me after not skating for a while. I've been skating a lot this spring. I knew it was going to be tough getting back into it. I knew this was going to be a tough week, so I wanted to prepare myself the best I could."
Q: Have you been working with anyone in particular in the offseason?
A: "Back home, I go to Boris Bykovsky, I skate with him a lot. I played with him for a few years. He's a great coach, he knows so much. It was good to be back at home. He knows so much. This summer I'll have the Yale workout program. I'll be hitting the ice as much as I can and against the best competition I can find. I just want to get ready for next year best I can and just keep developing."