bat yam hockey 88 lg.
(photo credit: Lionel Gaffen)
The first World Jewish Ice Hockey Tournament opened at Metulla's Canada Center on Sunday with the USA defeating France 9-4.
Following the opening ceremony Canada faced Israel in the second matchup of the day.
Enthusing about the "excellent standard" of the Center head coach of the Canadian team Sherry Bassin told The Jerusalem Post that it was a "special moment" and that he felt like he was "coming home".
In the opening game France started with a strong attack and scored the first goal after eight minutes.
The US fought back but it took them another six minutes of all out effort to find an equalizer. Just before the first break Noah Ruden managed to bypass the French defense and make the US's second goal.
This brought the French supporters to their feet chanting "Allez La France."
But the support did not bring the French team back into strong scoring mode.
During the second period the US brought its lead to 4-2, and further stretched it with a flourish in the third period.
The opening ceremony which followed the game was played out in front of a full house, and saw clear emotion on the faces of both players and audience as Shmuel Ben Shachar, manager of the Canada Center, spoke of the happiness of the occasion compared with the same day a year before when the Center offered a resting place to soldiers whilst the noises of war waged outside.
Chairman of the tournament Sidney Greenberg of Toronto talked of "coming home to play."
There were songs sung by the Metulla Women's Choir and a performance of the Hora by junior skaters.
The four competing teams paraded their flags and awards were given to the outstanding player of the earlier game for both the American and the French teams.
This was just the start as the Israeli and Canadian teams limbered up for their match later in the evening.
The tournament will continue on Tuesday with the US facing Canada and Israel vs France, while on Wednesday Israel plays USA and Canada faces France.
The semifinals and finals will be played on Friday.