Israel vs. Ryerson at Maple Leaf Gardens

Israel’s national ice hockey team will compete against the Ryerson University Rams of CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport, for American readers, roughly Canada’s NCAA equivalent) in Toronto at the famed Maple Leaf Gardens on March 27, 2014, at 3:00 p.m., as a warm up/practice game prior to the International Ice Hockey Federation World Division 2A championship to be held in Serbia from April 9-15, 2014. This will give Israel’s dual passport holding Israeli-Canadian players, all of whom are based in either Toronto or Montreal, a chance to play together before the Worlds.

Israel will face host Serbia, along with Australia, Belgium, Estonia, and Iceland, in Belgrade.

Israel recently faced ACHA university club team MIT in Boston on March 1, 2014. In actuality, Israel faced the “MIT Selects,” as the current MIT team would not have been a strong enough opponent. MIT sent its strongest current players together with its best alumni in their twenties and thirties to face the Israeli squad, coached by Jean Perron.As for the Israelis, the lineup for that game was split roughly 50/50 between Israeli national team players and Canadian-Jewish and American-Jewish guest players, as Israel’s pro players and the players based in Israel proper were unavailable for the game and the Israelis needed to fill out their lines. A crowd of 800, including the Israeli Consul General to New England, watched Israel win that game by a 7-6 score. MIT led 1-0 and 2-1 before the first period ended 2-2. MIT led 3-2 in the second period before Israel exploded to lead 6-3 after 40 minutes. Israel led 7-3 in the third period before a furious MIT rally fell short. Israel’s goals were scored by Evan Levy, Ron Oz (x2), Isaac Levy, Shlomi Levy, Avishai Geller and Daniel Mazour. Evan Levy’s tally was the only goal scored by a non-Israeli national team regular.

As with the MIT game, Israel’s Israeli League-based bottom line players won’t be able to be at the Ryerson game. Likewise, several of the Israeli pro players, such as Max Birbraer, Daniel Spivak and Oren Eizenman, will join their teammates in Serbia, so there will again be Canadian- Jewish guest players to fill out the lines for this practice game. As any Jewish person can automatically qualify for Israeli citizenship, the guest players could potentially play for Israel one day under IIHF rules, provided they obtained their Israeli passports and spent two consecutive years playing in an Israeli league.

Two of Israel’s top players will be at the Ryerson game. Eliezer Sherbatov plays professionally in Kazakstan (a KHL feeder league), and led his team, HK Astana, in scoring this past season. He played two professional seasons in France prior to this year for Neuilly Sur-Marne. He previously played Major Junior in the QMJHL for Montreal and Baie-Comeau. Daniel Erlich has played professionally in Austria in 2011-12 for Red Bull Salzburg, and played Major Junior for the London Knights and Guelph Storm. He led all of CIS in scoring this season as a sophmore for Western Ontario.

Israeli national team regulars Ron Oz (who has played professionally in Holland and Belgium), Isaac (Itzhak) Levy (who has played professionally in France and Serbia), Shlomi Levy, Daniel Mazour (who is a Ryerson student), and Sergei Frenkel (who is a Ryerson hockey alumni) will all take the ice against Ryerson, as will Israeli national team members past and present, including Ron Soreanu, Jonathan Rebibo, Navot Kantor, Ilan Kilimnik, Ron Berman, Ely Oosterhuis, and Daniel Berman.

Israel will use a Canadian Jewish guest goalie for the game – 1989 born Daniel Stein. Stein played in the OPJHL (Canadian Jr. A) for a few teams including the North York Rangers & Streetsville Derbys, and has played for the Jewish team that has won the Canadian Multicultural championships. That team has featured Israeli national team players who hold both Canadian and Israeli passports, as well as Canadian Jews who played for Canada in the World Jewish Cups in 2007 and 2009.

Ryerson is expected to use its full roster for the contest, including two of the top scorers in the CIS this season in Domenic Alberga and Jamie Wise, who is the son of Rams’ coach Graham Wise. Alberga and Wise finished 4th/5th in CIS scoring and 2nd/3rd in the OUA (Ontario collegiate conference of the CIS) right behind Israel’s Erlich. Ryerson just completed the best season in program history, having recorded 17 wins.

Ryerson will be a formidable opponent for Israel, and a stiff (and much needed) test prior to Israel’s departing for Belgrade.

The game was put together in just three weeks thanks to the hard work and efforts of Israeli player and Ryerson student Daniel Mazour, who had contacted Ryerson coach Graham Wise and the Ryerson athletic department to gauge interest and arrange for the ice time at the classic Maple Leaf Gardens.

Tickets to the game are available here: http://www.ticketmaster.com/ryerson-rams-mens-hockey-toronto-ontario-03-27-2014/event/10004C6CA84153D0

Jean Perron, Israel’s longtime head coach (who coached the Montreal Canadiens to the 1986 Stanley Cup) will be coaching Israel in Serbia at the Worlds. However, he cannot attend Thursday’s game. Instead, Israeli assistant coach Dusan Kralik will take the head coaching reins for the day. Kralik is an ex-pro, having played for Slovan Bratislava prior to Czechoslovakia’s breakup, and trains current NHL players in the offseason including John Tavares, PK Subban and Steve Stamkos. He will be assisted by NHL veteran Pat Flatley.

Israel’s roster for the game vs. Ryerson is set forth below. The years set forth next to the national team players indicate their most recent activity with Israel’s national team.

Name Position DOB Team 
Daniel Stein Goalie 06/02/1989 Streetsville Derbys (OPJHL)
Ilan Kilimnik Goalie 28/06/1987 Team Israel (2006)

Ron Oz Defense 07/05/1977 Team Israel (2014)
Ron Soreanu Defense 29/08/1980 Team Israel (2014)
Navot Kantor Defense 29/05/1991 Team Israel (2013)
Jonathan Rebibo Defense 07/05/1989 Team Israel (2014)
Ron Berman Defense 07/06/1980 Team Israel (2007)
Mick Mitrovic Defense 18/06/1971 University of Toronto (former Ryerson Coach)

Daniel Mazour Forward 05/01/1992 Team Israel (2014)
Daniel Erlich Forward 13/03/1991 Team Israel (2014)
Eliezer Sherbatov Forward 09/10/1991 Team Israel (2014)
Itzhak Levy Forward 02/05/1982 Team Israel (2014)
Shlomi Levy Forward 16/03/1976 Team Israel (2014)
Sergei Frenkel Forward 06/08/1984 Team Israel (2014)/Ryerson Rams Alumni
Ely Oosterhuis Forward 31/10/1977 Team Israel (2009)
Daniel Berman Forward 29/01/1991 Team Israel (2008)
Aaron Berisha Forward 05/03/1995 Bellevile Bulls (OHL)
Beni Berisha Forward 02/06/1992 Watertown Privateers (FHL)
Aaron Spivak Forward 13/01/1995 Toronto Jr. Canadians (OJHL)
Shane Urowitz Forward 23/02/1985 Ryerson Rams Alumni
Kenny Erlich Forward 15/06/1986

Coaches 
Head Dusan Kralik NHL Player Skill Development Coach
Assistant Pat Flatley 14 year NHL career For NYI & NYR

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