The hockey world may welcome the first Israeli hockey player into the NHL this year at the 2018 draft. A major milestone for Israelis that love the game of ice hockey, David Levin has the potential to break from the norm and be the first Israeli-born player in the National Hockey League.
His love for hockey was apparent in 2010 when he asked his parents if he could move to Canada.
The request, which his parents thought was a phase at the time, persisted over the next two years. Levin’s initial request came when he didn’t speak English nor did he know how to skate. Levin could barely play air hockey when he knew that he wanted to be a professional hockey player.
Levin’s parents eventually gave into his requests, and he went to Canada to hone his hockey skills.
He tried several sports before making the move, but he exceled at roller hockey. His father’s guidance led him to play for the Israeli youth league, with coaches suggesting that Levin be sent to Canada to develop his talent.
The idea stuck, and the left-handed forward has been impressing coaches and former players alike. Inspired by Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Levin learned the hard work and effort it takes to become a hockey player from hearing Crosby on a YouTube video.
In 2015, he scored 39 goals, registered 41 assists and was likened to some of the best hockey players in the world, including superstars Connor McDavid and Steven Stamkos. Playing for the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL, Levin has played 159 games in the OHL and has 112 total points.
He was the number one draft pick in the OHL Priority Selection in 2015.
Levin’s potential to be a top draft pick faded last season after suffering from a knee issue. He hasn’t performed the same way he did prior to playing in the OHL, yet many fans believe that he will be a later round draft pick.
Levin’s story is sure to bring a lot of publicity to the game of hockey and Israel. People love a good story, and being the first Israeli-born player to be drafted into the NHL could help explode hockey in Israel.
The Canada Centre in Metulla also has the potential to help younger Israelis that want to be hockey players to hone their skills without having to go to Canada. The center has a hockey rink and holds the Jewish Ice Hockey Championships.
Games are free, and the Olympic-sized rink allows Israelis to get a taste of what it’s like to play on larger ice services.
Levin’s dream of turning into a professional hockey player continues to live on, and Israel’s youth hope that his dreams come true. If Levin is drafted, he will have to play in the minor leagues, continue to develop his talent and make the real transition from the minor leagues to the NHL.
But in the meantime, his story is helping fuel the dreams of many younger Israelis who want to enter the NHL at all costs.