In a short time, my Team USA juniors ice hockey team will play for the gold medal against Team Canada. We have played each other twice in Metula, with a split decision thus far. The first game was our first of Maccabiah and also our first ever as a team. We spent a lot of time in the penalty box and played more like individuals than teammates, losing 4-0.
The next game against the Canucks was more evenly matched, despite the fact they jumped out to an early 3-1 lead. Slowly, we chipped away at the deficit. We had three unanswered goals to tie the game and we were exuberant. When we put another puck in the net, the tide had turned and we held off to win 4-3. Our goalie, Joe Lissak, kept us in the game but we also played more like a team.
It should be a battle today. No matter who wins gold (and who takes home silver), we have all been impressed with our Israeli hosts. So many fans have packed the stands for all of the games. Our new hockey brothers, the Israeli juniors team, will take away a bronze medal as well as a huge amount of confidence scoring goals in every game they played.
This should be every Jewish hockey player’s dream. To play for your country here in Israel, and to play in the gold medal game. I know it is mine.