Canada crushes Israel to take local hockey gold

The Canadians captured the Gideon Lee Trophy, named in honor of the late coach who helped build Israel’s national hockey team.

Hockey Canada Israel (photo credit: Nim Gluckman)
Hockey Canada Israel
(photo credit: Nim Gluckman)
Team Canada outskated and outgunned Israel to score a decisive 7-2 victory and take home the gold medal at the fifth annual international recreational ice hockey tournament on the Olympic rink at the Canada Centre.
The five-team tournament had players from Canada, Finland, the USA and Israel, with the Israeli teams composed of olim from hockey-playing countries and sabras who learned their stickhandling on the ice here in the Holy Land.
With the triumph, the Canadians captured the Gideon Lee Trophy, named in honor of the late coach who helped build Israel’s national hockey team and was behind the bench for it’s first three world championships.
Israel Recreational Hockey Association president Danny Spodek described the tournament as “definitely our best ever, and most of the players said they expect to be back next year.”
The recreational tournament had players ranging from 14-year-old all-star goalie Yoav Regev, of Ra’anana, to Team Canada’s all-star goalie Esther Silver, a grandmother who was one of seven female players in the tournament.
Despite the recreational rules of no body-checking and no slap shots, there were enough bumps and bangs to keep the crowd excited.
A busload of fans from the center of the country got in some pleasure-skating before the finals, and helped make the goldmedal game a boisterous affair.
Team USA defeated the Israeli B-team to take the bronze medal.
Earlier in the day, the Yanks defeated Israel’s Cteam in a 3-2 thriller in the final round-robin game.
Trailing 3-1, the Israelis pulled goalie Razi Briga and blue-and-white veteran Gal Assa fired in a high wristshot with just a minute remaining.
The Israelis swarmed Team USA goalie Rob Fried in the last minute trying to bang home the equalizer, but the Americans hung on for the victory.
The Israeli recreational league resumes regular Thursday play this week and will be holding a pre-Pessah hockey clinic April 13-14 for kids who want to learn the game. As well, with the outdoor rink to be erected in Jerusalem’s Kikar Safra from March 10-12, ice times are being reserved for “shinny” (skates, sticks and a puck; no full equipment, no raising the puck, no bodychecks) games. For more information, please visit or e-mail