and Zach Bogosian, once defensive partners in prep school, faced off against each other as pros for the first time on Thursday night as Yandle and the Coyotes hosted Bogosian and the Atlanta Thrashers at Jobing.com Arena.
Their bond goes back to Cushing Academy near Boston. While Bogosian was in his first year at the prep school, Yandle, who was in his last year, took the then 14-year-old Bogosian under his wing as his defensive partner.
“He came in and he was young,” said Yandle, who roomed with Bogosian’s brother Aaron at Cushing. “You could tell he was going to be a great player.”
The pair played together all season with Yandle showing Bogosian “the ropes” to being a good hockey player.
Not too many guys make it (to the NHL) from high school hockey in Massachusetts, and two guys from one team playing each other is pretty cool." - Keith Yandle
“He was good to me because I was young,” Bogosian said. “I really learned a lot from him being I was just 14 years old. He was a pretty established defenseman. He is a fun guy just to go to school with because he is a goofball.”
Yandle’s “goofball” attitude helped create a bond between the two, who saw each other for the first time in three years on Wednesday.
“I went down and saw him when they were skating yesterday and it was like we haven’t missed a beat,” said Bogosian, who is a native of Massena, N.Y. “We just kind of fooled around so it was good talking to him and good seeing him.”
For Yandle, it was a chance to catch up with the third overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft.
“It was good talking to him and it’s fun playing against a kid you went to high school with,” said Yandle, who also played with forward Chris Bourque of the Washington Capitals at Cushing. “Not too many guys make it (to the NHL) from high school hockey in Massachusetts, and two guys from one team playing each other is pretty cool. Obviously, I see him on TV and see he is doing well. I hadn’t talked to him in a few years. It was good to talk to him and see where he was at.”
Yandle entered Thursday’s game hoping Bogosian didn’t score a goal. That was not the case when the two were playing at Cushing.
“In his freshman year, he was young and hadn’t scored yet,” Yandle said. “My coach put him and me on a forward line together so I could try and get him the puck and he could score towards the end of the year. He didn’t end up scoring, but I’m sure he’s going to end up getting a bunch in the NHL.”
With the Thrashers and Coyotes playing each other only once this season, both players said they planned to enjoy the rare matchup.
“If I get a chance, I am going to lay a hit on him and I am sure he will do the same on me,” Bogosian said. “It will be cool. Two defensemen partners who went to the same school and all of a sudden we are playing against each other in the NHL. It’s hard to imagine that.”