Hapoel Tel Aviv team manager Uri Shelef passed away at the age of 43 yesterday, after suffering cardiac arrest.
(photo credit: ODED KARNI/BSL)
The untimely and shocking passing of Hapoel Tel Aviv team manager Uri Shelef united Israeli basketball in grief on Sunday.
Shelef passed away from cardiac arrest at the age of 43. He left behind a wife and two children.
Perhaps more than anyone else, Shelef was responsible for the resurrection of Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Shelef, who played at the club in the 1990’s but never recorded the success achieved by his brother Gur at Maccabi Tel Aviv, helped set up the fan owned Hapoel Ussishkin in the summer of 2007 following the collapse of Hapoel Tel Aviv. He voluntarily coached the side for two seasons, helping it twice gain promotion, before becoming the team’s manager.
The club continued to climb up the divisions and in December 2009 reached another milestone when it took over the name and heritage rights of the original Hapoel Tel Aviv team after it was officially liquidated.
Hapoel finally returned to the top flight in the 2012/13 season and took another step forward on the way to reclaiming its place among Israel’s top sides when it moved into its new arena at the former site of Tel Aviv’s iconic drivein movie theater in January of this year.
Shelef played a major role at every step of the way and his death rocked the club to its foundation on Sunday.
“Something in the club has been broken and nothing will ever be the same again” read a Hapoel statement.
Hapoel’s game against Maccabi Ashdod scheduled for Monday was postponed to Thursday due to Shelef’s passing.
The start of the rest of Monday’s action will be preceded by a moment’s silence, as was Sunday’s game between Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Eilat Jerusalem beat Eilat 93-88 after overtime.
In other basketball news, the BSL voted in favor of a return to the Final Four format to determine the league champion starting from next season.