A Jewish player that may go in the first round of the NHL draft this month is Josh Ho-Sang.
His father is a black Jamaican who got his name from a Chinese grandfather, his mother is a Spanish-speaking Chilean of Russian and Swedish parents. They live in Toronto. She is Jewish and brought up Josh as such.
He played for the Windsor Spitfires in the Ontario junior league and scored 32 goals.
He is an absolute wizard with the puck but there are three knocks against him.
The first is his size. He is only 5-foot-11 and weighs 165 pounds. He will have to add a lot of weight to play in the NHL. That will take time and much hard work to accomplish. There are some great small players in the league such as Patrick Kane of Chicago and Martin St. Louis and Mats Zuccarello of the New York Rangers.
The second is his lack of dedication to the defensive game. That can be taught but it will take a team willing to invest the effort.
The third is his perceived lack of discipline. This could be fatal to his going in the first round. This year he blindsided a player, broke his leg, and was suspended for 15 games.
The draft of course is a crapshoot. Frequently first round picks never make it and others who go undrafted such as St. Louis, a two-time scoring champion, become great stars.
Josh’s father is a tennis pro and the story goes when he gave the toddler Josh a racket and a ball, the first thing he did was to start to stick-handle. The family couldn’t break him of the habit and so they went with the flow.
There are always a half dozen Jewish players in the league. This year there were four who played from start of season to end: Mike Cammalleri of Calgary, Eric Nystrom of Nashville, Jeff Halperin of Phoenix, and Mike Brown of San Jose.
There have been number of all-stars over the years such as Mathieu Schneider and Hymie Buller; and Cammalleri today is one of the best scorers in the game.
There was one notorious anti-Semitic incident in the NHL in 1968. Larry Zeidel was one of the toughest players who ever lived. He was playing for Philadelphia and some of the Boston players began taunting him with anti-Semitic slurs. At some point he slammed into Eddie Shack and what ensued was a horrific stick-swinging duel which went on for five minutes with both ending up as bloody messes. In those days they did not wear helmits.
Josh Ho-Sang has a Chinese name but he would not be considered an Asian. There was a Jewish-Chinese player in the league back in the 80s, a goalie by the name of Peter Ing.
If Josh is drafted, and if he makes the varsity, and if he does as well there as he did in juniors, then Ho-Sang has the potential to become the next Jewish all-star.
I follow the Rangers so this was an exciting year as they got to the finals.
I’m not an NBA fan but back in the 90s my son, still a small kid, became a fan of the San Antonio Spurs.
Ever since then every time when the Spurs got to a deciding game in the finals I would sit with him to watch the game.
He’s on his own this year and not living at home. I decided to watch the game last night by myself.
I know how happy he must have been when they won so I was happy too. If gifts are meant to make someone happy then that was my father’s day present. But if I hadn’t shared those moments with him over the years it would have meant nothing.