An amazing achievement for the Israeli peewee hockey team of 10-13 year olds: they beat out 92 other teams to take gold at an international hockey meet in Quebec City. The fact that the Israeli youngsters play roller hockey most of the year and only rarely practice on real ice makes the win even more astounding.
It was the second year in a row that the Israelis stunned the peewee hockey world and snagged gold at the Bernières-Saint-Rédempteur (BSR) International Peewee Tournament.
The Israeli team called itself the “Bat Yam Hockey Club” even though it is made up of players from Bat Yam, Rishon Lezion, Nes Ziona, Maalot and Kfar Saba, which all have clubs that play in the Ice Hockey Federation of Israel championships. Peewee is the youngest level of organized hockey in Israel and because it is still in its infancy there were not enough players from just one club to send to the tournament.
The Israelis were considered the underdogs throughout the tourney. With only one ice hockey rink in all of Israel – located at the Canada Center in Metulla – these kids practice their slap-shots and blind passes on rollerblades on asphalt.
Other teams at the event hailed from more ice-friendly countries including Canada, United States, Finland, Switzerland, France and Slovakia.
The Bat Yam team finished the tournament with an unbelievable 5-0 score.
The Israelis were coached by Dimitry Gromkov.
“We lost eight players from last year, and were supposed to be a weak team this year,” Bat Yam’s manager, Quebec City resident Jonathan Hawey, told The Canadian Jewish News.
Said 11-year-old Bat Yam player David Levin: “It was an amazing feeling to score goals at such a big tournament and beat Canadian hockey teams.”