Monthly Archives: March 2013
By Wayne Fish, Columnist
New York Hockey Journal
To be the best, you might as well learn from the best.
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Zach Bogosian subscribes to that theory, because one of his first coaches was one of the best to ever play the back line.
That would be Ray Bourque, the two-decade Hall of Famer who’s usually mentioned in the same sentence with the legendary Bobby Orr at Boston’s hockey watering holes.
Bogosian, a native of Massena, N.Y., hard by the St. Lawrence River, attended Cushing Academy in Massachusetts starting at the age of 14. Bourque’s sons, Chris and Ryan, also attended Cushing, so Ray came on board as an assistant coach.
He knew early on he had stumbled on to something really good.
“Any time you’re around a Hall of Famer like that, he’s a real special person, on and off the ice,’’ Bogosian said after a Jets-Flyers game last month. He’d net his first goal of the season the next day in New Jersey. “He brought joy to the practices, always smiling — he would give us little tips, like coming into the zone late, getting point shots through. … He didn’t try to put too much on 10th-graders, but just his presence was the biggest thing.’’
Aside from his notoriety as one of Winnipeg’s prized home-grown products (drafted third in 2008 behind only Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty), the 22-year-old Bogosian is perhaps best known for being the first player of Armenian heritage to play in the National Hockey League.
Although Armenia is a mountainous country (a former republic in the defunct Soviet Union) and endures long, cold winters, the sport of hockey has been slow to develop there. It took an American-born player like Bogosian to break the barrier, so to speak.
Zach’s great-grandfather, Stephen, escaped Armenia in the early 1920s to get away from the genocide perpetrated on his countrymen. Some 1 million Armenians reportedly lost their lives during this holocaust.
The Bogosian family wound up in upstate New York, and Zach, a natural athlete at a young age, had a decision to make early on. He could follow his dad into American football (Ike was co-captain of the 1980-81 Syracuse University teams that featured future New York Giants running back and Super Bowl champ Joe Morris) or pursue a career in hockey.
Hockey won and Zach never looked back. And he’s proud of the fact that he’s a bit of a pioneer.
“Yeah, growing up with an Armenian heritage … you know, my grandparents are still pretty hardcore about it,’’ he said. “My great-grandfather came across when the genocide started.
“It’s just a hard-working family from a small town. I mean, if I can do it, anyone can do it. As far as being the first Armenian, obviously I’m very proud of it. But it’s not just on me; it’s on my parents and everyone who helped me throughout my whole career.
“It’s kind of fun to have that (first Armenian) next to your name.’’
As for not following his dad and older brother (Aaron, now playing for the Florida Everblades of the ECHL) into American collegiate sports, the Bogosians have cable TV to thank for that.
Zach grew up watching the Ottawa 67s junior team and that convinced him to eventually play youth hockey north of the border, joining the Peterborough Petes after graduating from Cushing Academy.
Massena is a town of about 12,000 in St. Lawrence County, which also includes former NHLer Mike Hurlbut (N.Y. Rangers, Quebec Nordiques, Buffalo Sabres) among its native sons.
“I played a few tournaments with Nick Palmieri (Utica, N.Y.) for the Syracuse Stars, but Massena is pretty secluded,’’ said Bogosian. “I was never really around anyone (of high hockey caliber) growing up. When I go home, it’s just me and my brother skating together.
“It’s a unique little town; I enjoy going back there in the summertime. I’m just proud to be from there.’’
Like a number of players in the organization, there were some mixed feelings about leaving Atlanta for Winnipeg a couple years ago. On one hand, the Thrashers were moving to a more hockey-crazed environment. On the other, a lot of local ties to Atlanta — from friends to schools to favorite restaurants — had to be broken.
“I’m from upstate New York, so the climate is not too much different,’’ said Bogosian. “(Winnipeg) is a great hockey town and we have great support. Obviously, it’s never easy moving from city to city. But the city welcomed us with open arms. It’s been a great experience so far.’’
The Jets believe they’re on the right track toward contention, with young stars like Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler, Evander Kane and, of course, Bogosian, forming a strong nucleus. The team stood 8-9-1 in late February.
“We’ve been together for a few years,’’ he said. “We’ve been through the Atlanta phase and now we’re going through the Winnipeg phase.
“Our core group might seem young, but we have a good mix of veteran guys, too. Any time you’re one of the young guys on a young team, it’s always fun, bringing that energy to the room and learning from the older guys.’’
This article originally appeared in the March 2013 issue of New York Hockey Journal and is reprinted with the permission of the author.
By Aram Arkun
Armenian Mirror-Spectator Staff
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — Armenian Studies is a small field, with a small number of academic specialists. The number of academic specialists on the Armenian Genocide is even smaller, and there are very few positions for them at universities in the United States. While this situation is unlikely to change drastically, occasionally efforts are made to initiate new academic programs and positions. Nova Southeastern University appears on the verge of making such an effort, if sufficient support and funding are found.
Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a relatively young university, founded in 1964, but it already is fairly large, with more than 28,000 students. Dr. Susanne Marshall, senior associate dean of operations and student services at NSU, explained that the university has had graduate programs in conflict resolution for many years. There are more than 800 students enrolled in them now. The focus of these programs has been on the international and governmental level. A few years ago, NSU hired a young faculty member, Jason J. Campbell, as a professor in these programs. Campbell had already founded a non-profit activist organization, the Institute for Genocide Awareness and Applied Research, in 2009. His research happened to focus on genocide and he suggested that it needed to be a more defined curricular focus. NSU agreed. (Despite repeated efforts to contact him, Campbell was unavailable to be interviewed for this article.)
It was already necessary to provide historical and sociopolitical backgrounds for analysis in the multidisciplinary field of conflict analysis, so genocide studies fit in well here, but the university wishes to expand its offerings further. Marshall said, “We would like to have a more independent framework for genocide studies and genocide prevention, and establish a separate degree program, or at least a concentration in master’s and doctoral programs. We are not quite there yet.”
The interest in Armenia came about through research into modern genocide. Marshall points out that “as Dr. Campbell demonstrates in his research, the Armenian Genocide is a blueprint for the genocides of the 20th and 21st centuries. You see all the factors here mirrored in later genocides, so you can learn a lot about prediction and prevention by studying this genocide.” In this sense, Marshall said, in-depth studies of the factors leading up to the Armenian Genocide can be quite useful. The approach at NSU is an activist one, so graduate students want to learn what can be done for prevention.
At the moment, the Armenian Genocide is a component of the courses on genocide being offered. It does not have a faculty member whose research specifically has been on the Armenian Genocide and does not offer Armenian language classes, but it has hosted relevant guest speakers and lectures. For example, Florida resident Margaret Ajemian Ahnert, author of the memoir A Knock at the Door, spoke there in 2008.
Not only does NSU want to expand its genocide studies programs, but it also wants to expand their Armenian component. At the moment, Marshall said, “A lecture series on issues connected to the Armenian Genocide or the early modern genocides is something we are considering. We could bring in people without making a faculty line available. We would like to make more resources specific to the Armenian Genocide available to our students.” However, due to financial difficulties, she stated that “whether we could get a full faculty position without additional funding available is unclear.”
Marshall added, “We are actively seeking funding. It would be a dream to be able to hire someone whose specific academic background is in Armenian Studies.”
Armenian language courses would be possible too, if funding was sufficient to hire an independent faculty member for this.
Marshall is not worried about any potential interference from the Turkish government. She said, “It is hard to envision resistance from a foreign government reaching what we are doing here at Nova SU in the curricular area, though I know it can happen. In any case, we are poised to move ahead at this point.”
NSU has a grant proposal pending with one Armenian foundation, and is looking at other grant sources as well as private donor funding. The university has a definite time frame in mind. Marshall explained that “the firm curricular framework that I would like to establish should really be announced at the one hundredth anniversary of the Genocide. That would be the most appropriate time for a new outreach program or a firm faculty member.”
There is at least one prominent Armenian-American already involved with NSU who would be supportive of such programs. Marta T. Batmasian is a member of the Board of Governors of the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern. Furthermore, she and her husband in the past donated a large memorial to the Armenian Genocide, which stands at the entrance of the school.
Marshall concluded, “We are an attractive host for this sort of thing. We have a working program already. Our program in conflict resolution is available fully on line. The university is young and is able to move in the direction of where there is a need for learning. We have identified the Armenian Genocide and genocide in general as an area of critical importance to learn about.”
This article originally appeared in the Armenian Mirror-Spectator and is reprinted with the permission of the author.