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Loss of longtime coach felt by Northeast Ohio hockey community

Steve Bogas died Monday from cancer
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Posted at 6:56 PM, Mar 19, 2024

MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio — Mayfield High School and the Northeast Ohio hockey community are mourning the loss of a beloved, longtime hockey coach. Steve Bogas died Monday after a half-year battle with liver cancer.

“It’s incredibly devastating to lose a friend and someone as young as he was and as quickly as this went. My heart just breaks for his family and his young sons,” said Keith Leffler, the athletic director at Mayfield High School.

The 49-year-old was a husband, father to twin boys and coach to countless hockey players.

He spent 15 years coaching at Mayfield High School. In fall 2023, a cancer diagnosis forced him to take a step back into an assistant position and pass the head coaching reins to his assistant Jacob Macula.

“That’s a huge honor. That’s something I dreamed that I’d get one day,” Macula said of the position. “But when he told me the bad news, it really hurt. You feel almost numb.”

Macula himself played under Coach Bogas in both high school and youth hockey.

“He always told you how it was, but at the same time, it was always coming from a compassionate heart,” Macula said. “Everywhere you go, he knows somebody and he’s going to talk to them for a good 15-20 minutes."

Other players echoed the sentiment, agreeing Bogas was tough but fair, and passionate about the sport.

“He never took any crap from anybody,” laughed Mayfield sophomore J.D. Sega. “He’d always stand up for himself, whether that’s to a ref, to another coach, he’d always let you know what he was thinking and how something should be.”

Senior Julia Schabroni added, “We were trying to build our program and I don’t think it would’ve happened without him. There were times when we didn’t know if we’d have a team, but he made sure it happened.”

Bogas also spent the past eight years volunteering in the Mentor Youth Hockey program and coaching his twin sons.

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Steve Bogas with his family at a fundraiser

"Both of his twins have been on skates since they were little so many of our kids have grown up skating together from pretty early on," Mentor Youth Hockey Booster Club President Lindsey Lehuta said in an email. "For the past 3 years the team that Steve coached made it into their division's CSHL championship game... a lot of it was due to the coaching. When you're passionate about something, it spills over to others and Coach Steve was definitely passionate and knowledgeable about hockey."

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His coaching career included other stops around Northeast Ohio, including Cleveland Heights. His name was among the list of coaches that Eagles center Jason Kelce acknowledged in his retirement speech earlier this year.

“All of you taught me countless lessons and put up with a very young, rambunctious kid that was full of immaturity, stupidity and cockiness,” Kelce said of his high school coaches. “I would without question not be where I am today without your efforts with me and the countless other children you served in my brother’s and my hometown of Cleveland Heights.”

After Bogas’ passing this week, tributes have poured in on social media from across the Northeast Ohio hockey community.

“Sending love to the friends and family of Steve Bogas. He was stalwart in his support of fellow players and the kids he coached,” said a post from Heights Hockey.

“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Mayfield hockey coach Steve Bogas,” said another post from Shaker Heights Varsity Hockey. “Our thoughts are with Mayfield Hockey and the Bogas family. He was a great man, father, husband, and coach. Rest In Peace."

A page for St. Edward’s High School Hockey added, “Sending love to the friends and family of Steve Bogas. He was stalwart in his support of fellow players and the kids he coached.

The coach’s team told News 5 Bogas fought his cancer bravely and fiercely. Several community fundraisers rallied support for his family during treatment.

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“He knows every referee that does our games, he knows every coach, he knows most of the players on every team. And it’s unfortunate it took a situation to really understand the impact and the involvement he has in the entire Northeast Ohio hockey community,” Leffler said.

Bogas’ players said they will take the lessons they learned from him on the ice into other aspects of life.

“Caring about people, I think that’s always number one,” said Macula. “You look at them as people first and players second. I think that’s the most important thing he instilled in me.”

Schabroni added, “Not to give up on the team, for sure, because he never gave up on us.”

A celebration of life for Bogas is planned for Friday, March 22 from 3-8 p.m., followed by an 8 p.m. prayer service at Monreal Srnick Funeral Home in Eastlake.

You can find Coach Bogas’ full obituary and service details by clicking here.

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