I am going to leave it to Jason to tell you about the actual games because, let's face it, what the hell do I know about hockey, but I figure since it was the main purpose for the trip that I should cover it as well.
To be honest, I was not 100% sure I wanted to go on this trip. Anyone who knows me will know that I have a bit of a hockey stick shaped chip on my shoulder. I was worried I would be bored silly! I will be the first to admit though that in this case I was wrong. I had a great time, saw some good hockey (and some really, really bad hockey) and even enjoyed watching the games I went to (the evening ones. It was my vacation too and I deemed sleeping in of more vacational value than getting up early for breakfast and hockey).
First off, the rink. As always, pictures from inside the rink STINK. I have NEVER been able to get a good shot of anything inside a rink in my life- why start now? Isn't Jason cute back on the ice?
5 games in 2 days was sort of a lot considering he has only played one other time in the last 5 months-he was totally exhausted by the end of the tournament (he started taking on Ken Dryden poses during the last game!) but on the whole I think he had a great time.
The rink itself was pretty cool (pun intended. In fact, it was bloddy freezing! Because it is Israel and fairly warm by hockey standards, in order to keep the ice surface frozen, they refridgerate the entire floor of the arena. It is basically like watching hockey outside on a cold day in January in Toronto (and no one I know is dumb enough to do that- course here I needed to. It is not realy hockey unless you are freezing your tuches off!).
The Canada Centre (the building the rink is in) is all the way up in Metulah. It is so close to the Labanese border that our directions actually included the line "If you start seeing signs in Arabic you have gone a bit too far. Find somewhere to turn around. Fast."
The building also contains a lobby and restraunt, coffee shop, bowling alley, basketball court, weights room, and awesome swimming pool. I did not get any pictures of the pool but we had a great swim. 2 hot tubs, massage jets in the regular pool as well as i nthe hot tub, kiddie pool, chaise lounges and palm trees out the window!
Not sure it gets any better than that!
Best laugh came when one of the other wives showed me that the Canada Centre also holds the Israeli olympic bobsled!
The Israeli (and Canadian)hockey community is quite varried. There are men and women, aged 18 or so to late 60s. Total Russian Chiloni to pretty frummie. It was actually really nice. those who wanted the hot springs, went. those who wanted to daven, did. Those who wanted a daf yomi shiur, had one. Allowances were made for everyone who wanted to come and what they needed. It was a real show of achdut- people working together for the common goal of having a fun filled few days.
If there were any real clashes (other than on the ice of course!) I did not hear of them.
Jason is sitting on the ice near the far right. also playing is a family friend who took up hockey as an adult and her husband, my old school administrator and his son, some people Jason used to play with in Toronto, a guy whose sister was a year a head of my in elementary school, and lots of other fun people with whome we made friends.
Gratuitous Goalie shot.
Black won the tournament winning every single one of their games. Jason is the undefeated goalie of this years Canada Israel Hockey Tournament.