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Wed., Oct. 7
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MASSENA — Zach Bogosian spends his offseason in his hometown of Massena every year, but this time he found a part-time job.

Bogosian and his older brother Aaron, along with Massena native Matt Reid, are spending the second half of this week running the North Country Stars Hockey School at the St. Lawrence Centre Ice Arena.

Bogosian, who is 22, just finished his fourth season in the National Hockey League. He was the third player taken overall in the 2008 NHL draft. He’s been with the same franchise his entire career, but after his first two years the Atlanta Thrashers moved to Winnipeg and became the Jets.

About 40 kids, ages ranging from 9 to 14, are in the school, which began Wednesday and ends Saturday.

“It’s special,” Bogosian said. “My brother and I didn’t really have any camps in Massena we could go too (as kids). We’d always go to Clarkson’s and (SUNY) Potsdam’s. It means a lot go us. We made it from Massena, so we let the kids know that being from the north country doesn’t mean you can’t make it.”

Bogosian was at ease with the kids, enjoying some ribbing from some during a lunch break and having fun playing games with stick handling and puck possession with others during the afternoon session on ice.

Aaron Bogosian, who played at St. Lawrence University and has spent the last two seasons playing mostly in the East Coast Hockey League, has also enjoyed the experience.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Aaron Bogosian said. “This is my first time actually running a whole hockey camp. It’s fun working with young kids and talking with them and telling them about our experiences. Working with young kids is just awesome. I remember (going) to Clarkson camps. It was kind of the same thing, looking up to those guys and I was hoping I could be like them at some point in my life.”

One of the Clarkson players both Bogosians looked up to as kids was Matt Reid, who played with the Golden Knights from 1996-2000 and was a member of the 1999 ECAC championship team. Reid played professional hockey until 2009, with the bulk of his latter career spent with the ECHL’s South Carolina Stingrays.

“I was watching Aaron play for the (Florida Everblades) and I just missed the game for the first time in three or four years after being out of it,” Reid said. “I started talking to him about the talent that was here and how much more could be from here if we could get some excitement back. It’s not just about being the best player, it’s about discipline. Zach and Aaron are two guys who are the epitome of what a hockey player should be at the professional level.”

Zach Bogosian was only 18 when he joined the Thrashers, so he had to adjust quickly.

“A lot of people forget when you are 18 and you go into a locker with a guy who is 35, with three kids, and he’s a grown man that’s as mature as your dad, you have to grow up fast,” Bogosian said. “Professional athletes in general are forced to grow up fast. Your life’s in the fast lane and you have to make good decisions. Fortunately I’ve been surrounded by good people since I was young who helped me stay grounded and mentally ready to go.”

The move from Atlanta to Winnipeg enhanced Bogosian’s need to make the right decisions at all times.

“You understand it’s a business every night,” Bogosian said. “You can’t have an off night in the city. That city is proud to have hockey back and it’s an honor to play in front of those fans. You get noticed everywhere you go. You are kind of the celebrities in town and with that comes a lot of responsibility. You have to be respectful and make sure you are taking care of yourself. You also embrace it too and understand it’s an opportunity. I’m not going to play hockey forever, so I enjoy every game and every year I’m going to play.”

nNOTES: Aaron Bogosian played for three teams last season. He started with the ECHL’s Florida Everblades, then went to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye before ending the year playing in three games for the American Hockey League’s Peoria Rivermen. He is a free agent and said he’ll know more about his future location after the NHL draft. ... Reid now lives in Charleston, S.C. and has owned a pressure washing company since 2003. ... There will be a pro game Saturday at 11 a.m. at the St. Lawrence Centre Mall Arena, which will run until 12:15 p.m. Some of the people expected to play include Canton native Kyle Flanagan (SLU), former Ottawa Senator Jesse Winchester, Massena native Mark Miller (RPI), Ogdensburg native Jake Morley (Clarkson), Norwood native Alex Boak (Clarkson), Massena native Chris Aldous as well as former Clarkson players Andrew Himelson and Cody Rosen.

To see video interviews from this story check the Times Overtime Blog.

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