Well, I’m back! Lucky you… you can now read about my trip…
I was able to visit some family before the tournament. A cousin of mine was nice enough to pick me up from the airport in Tel Aviv, and then I stayed with him in Hadera. We hung out the next day, and went for lunch to Sammy Bakikar, and he then drove around to Cesaria, and a few other places nearby. Another cousin of mine picked me up, drove me to meet his daughter and son (I never met his kids). Later on, his son drove me to the Alaska Inn, in Metulla.
The drive was about 1:45hr (should have been about 2:30hr but there was almost no traffic, and he drove fast. He knew the route to Metulla, because he was stationed nearby when he was serving in the IDF (Israel Defence Force).
Woke up the next morning at 7am. Had breakfast at the hotel (nothing special – eggs, buns, fruit, cheezes, cereals, etc), walked my eqipment down to the Canada Centre (Mercaz Canada) which was about 150m from the hotel. I wasn’t renting a car – would have been a much larger expese, plus I don’t know my way around AT ALL – so the last thing I wanted to do was end up in Lebanon!
The Canada Centre is quite amazing, they have a IIHL sized rink, a smaller mini-rink for kids to learn how to skate, they have a shooting range (you can shoot a tommy gun if you want!), bowling, swimming pools (indoor and outdoor), basketball/volleyball courts, and more.
Breakfast at the hotel (as mentioned above)
I suited up, got on the ice at 9 a.m. and had a 1 hour practice. Around 10-10:30 our first game was against the USA. We lost 7-5. I should note that all the games were 3x 18 min. periods.
I should mention at this point, that the USA team had the typical USA attitude of going to win and do it at any cost. The tournament was supposed to be a friendly game – no contact (which I was disappointed to find out about), slashing, etc. They came with a coach!
The coach was yelling at the players, putting the strongest players on the ice as frequenlty as possible, and just giving the typical crap that you would expect. The Canada team on the other hand was playing for the love of the sport – if we won, great, if not, who cares as long as we enjoyed it!
Later that night, we played one of the Israel national teams – aka Sergei’s team. It was amazing playing with these guys. They were like AAA or OHL/AHL players. It didn’t take long for them to realize they were much better than us. We lost that game 10-2.
Had breakfast at the hotel
Suited up at 8:45 for a 9 a.m. game. This game was against USA again. We won 8-5 (I believe). We ended up extending the Canada/USA game until about 12:30. That’s basically 2 games that we played straight! It was a lot of fun! Again, their coach put the best players out all on the same line, as frequently as possible. Well… we took the game! suckers
Later on that night, USA played Sergei’s team. They were going out there to win. In the changeroom, we were trying to tell them that they don’t stand a chance. What does the coach say? “These guys played a team who was 44-0, and went out and won games against them, and at the end of the season, these guys were on top”. Anyways, we all just laughed at him and wished him luck. I told him that they didn’t stand a chance, regardless of what they thought. They ended up losing I think 12-3 or something. I watched a chunk of the game, but I don’t recall the score. Needless to say, the coach stopped with all the talk after that game!
After that game, it was Canada vs. the Israel pick-up team. We played from 8:30 -10:30 p.m. (roughtly). I think Israel won the game 5-4. Don’t recall the exact score. This Israel team was comprised of mostly Canadians and a few Americans that made aliah to Israel – so you know that they know how to play the game!
Had breakfast at the hotel
Went down to the arena. Played from 9 a.m. until noon. This game was Canada and USA (combined) vs. all Israel players.
This was a double game. We had a large bench, there was barely room for everyone to sit on the bench.
I believe that the combined Israel team won 5-4.
In this game, I had 2 clear breakaways! On each one I was hooked – very blatently – and taken down. There was no penalty called at all! Everyone on the Can/US team was yelling at the refs. For most of the tournament they were making bad calls, or not making calls at all!
I got a ride to K’far Giladi, which is where the closing lunch banquet was held. They had an amazing lunch! Everyone got these mini trophies for participating in the tournament.
I had everyone from the Canada team sign my Team Canada Hockey – baseball style hat – it’s a nice souvenier. Other people had the team sign their game jerseys.
From the lunch, I was able to get a ride from one of the players to a city near some other cousins of mine. I stayed with them over shabbat, and they drove me to the airport Sunday night for my flight home.
Here are some pictures of the stuff I have from the tournament.
The official Israel National Team jersey – this is the new one that will be their official jersey for next season and onwards.
The signed Team Canada hat that I mentioned above.
The participation trophy as mentioned above.
My VIP pass to the Canada Centre (only the players on the teams got these, the spectators did not).
My game jersey
I will be posting more photos as well as some videos over the next few days.