Toronto native Danny Spodek grew up with “hockey night” in Canada. Now, thanks to his efforts, there is such a thing as hockey night in Israel, too. That night is on Thursday, when Israeli immigrants from North America meet on the ice rink at Canada Centre in Metula — way up at the northern tip of Israel — to play the sport.
Spodek, a 40-year-old dentist who lives in Zichron Yaakov, heads up the Israel Recreational Hockey Association. Right now, he is focusing on organizing and promoting the association’s sixth annual tournament, to take place after the new year on February 6-10 in Metula. “At our first tournament, we had 40 players,” Spodek recalled in a conversation with The Shmooze. “This year we are expecting 150.”
Only two or three of the eight teams that will play in the tournament will be from Israel. The event draws hockey enthusiasts (mostly aged 35 and older) from North America and Finland, including some non-Jews. “This year we are expecting players from Vancouver, Seattle, Toronto, Winnipeg and Boston,” Spodek said. “And we also have a Baptist church from Kenora, Ontario, bringing eight people.”
“Hockey [takes up] a ton of my time,” said Spodek, who has volunteered for the past eight years developing and building the association’s program. “We’ve got things figured out for the adults, so now we are focusing on roller hockey and ice hockey for kids,” he said.
The Israeli National Ice Hockey team scored 26 goals in its rout of Greece at the International Ice Hockey Federation Division III championships this April, but only one of them was perhaps the goal of the year. Israel went on to win the tournament, but the most memorable part of their run was this play, courtesy of 19-year-old Eliezer Sherbatov. His gem was hidden for the last three months, until it was finally uploaded to YouTube last week, and has been viewed nearly 50,000 times since then. Enjoy!
Watch Sherbatov’s Brilliant Goal:
Crossposted From TMZ
A Jewish hockey player drafted by the Anaheim Ducks is suing the team — claiming coaches within the organization launched multiple “verbal anti-Semitic attacks.”
Twenty three-year-old Jason Bailey — a third-round NHL pick in 2005 — claims from the moment the Ducks assigned him to play for an affiliate team called the Bakersfield Condors, his coaches unleashed a “barrage of anti-Semitic, offensive and degrading verbal attacks.”
In the suit, filed yesterday in Orange County Superior Court, Bailey claims the head coach of the Condors told him “[Jews] only care about money and who’s who” and that he “never wanted his son to be raised Jewish or to wear a yarmulke.”
The latest egregious disappointment to hit the lowly Florida Panthers’ franchise has nothing to do with hockey. Panthers’ fans are (it baffles me to say) distraught and disappointed over a miscommunication surrounding a Tuesday night yarmulke giveaway, during what was billed as “the biggest Hanukkah party in South Florida.”
The original press release stated all ticket buyers for Tuesday’s game (against the Colorado Avalanche, which also celebrated the 1996 Stanly Cup championship between these two teams, but hockey, who’s talking about hockey?) would receive a black yarmulke with the Panthers’ logo stitched on top. At some point, however, the language was changed to make the prize available only to those who bought “discounted, single-game tickets for the Jewish Heritage Night,” Yahoo! Sports reported. Vanity kippot were ordered based on the number of people who bought a Jewish Heritage Night ticket, meaning season ticket holders were stiffed.