July 6 was a double celebration for one lucky frequent Southport visitor this year. For Rob O’Gara, it was the date he entered the world 26 years ago, and earlier this month, it was the date he married his dream girl. Long Island, New York native O’Gara married Isabel Wise, whose family has made Southport their summer home for decades. The couple was married in a Newagen Seaside Inn ceremony.
The couple met in 2011 while attending Milton Academy in Massachusetts. O’Gara made frequent summer visits to Southport during their courtship.
In planning their nuptials, the O’Garas had the perfect setting. They both love spending time in Southport, so the inn was an obvious choice. But the date was a bit more complicated.
O’Gara is a professional hockey player and the National Hockey League’s training camp begins in six weeks. So finding a date in Newagen’s crowded wedding schedule was a big challenge.
“It really came down to Newagen only having a couple open dates, and my birthday was one of them,” O’Gara said.
But his job as a hockey player threw another curveball in the wedding plans. Besides the unconventional date, the couple also went on a non-traditional honeymoon. A post-marriage celebration would have cut into O’Gara’s hockey training.
And the 2019-20 season is a pivotal one for O’Gara. He has played four professional seasons with the last two in the New York Rangers’ organization. He was a defenseman for the Hartford Wolfpack in the American Hockey League.
A back injury sidelined him for 30 of this season’s 82 games. So after a couple of operations, the couple decided early June in Italy for nine days was the best time for a honeymoon.
“When I got hurt we had the foresight to plan the honeymoon first. Had we gone after it would’ve interfered with my training and rehab program. So the only concern we had was fitting into the wedding clothes because I really love Italian food,” he said.
His injury and recuperation aren’t the only challenges facing his professional career. His contract expired at the season’s end. He is an unrestricted free agent looking to sign with another NHL team. “It’s an important time in my career and I’m looking for the right opportunity to sign and play next season,” he said.
O’Gara is a Neconset, New York native. He attended Milton Academy in hopes of expanding his hockey options after high school. He met Wise, now 23, while the two attended the school. Each summer, the couple spent time in the Boothbay region. They continue the tradition as a married couple.
“Between April and September, we both spend as much time as we can in Southport. We both really love it, especially the atmosphere. One of our favorite things to do is getting an ice cream at the Down East Ice Cream Factory which Isabel will swear is the best in the world,” O’Gara said.
The O’Garas spent the July 20 and 21 weekend in Southport, and returned to their home near Boston for the week. Isabel is a management consultant for Accenture, a Boston-based marketing company. O’Gara is training in rinks and gyms near Foxboro, Massachusetts with expectations of signing with an NHL team.
After high school, O’Gara attended Yale University and played on the Bulldogs’ 2013 NCAA championship team. He was drafted by the Boston Bruins and traded to the New York Rangers. He has played for both the Boston and Providence Bruins.