A Jewish Pride moment for the Canadian Hockey Team
While sport is the main focus, I know that Maccabi Canada feels very strongly about promoting the connection between Canadian Jews and the State of Israel. I worked with Farrel Miller to do just this in the spirt of what the games are all about. A few months prior to the Games TSN aired a documentary about Hockey in Metula and how hockey is bringing some Jews and Arabs together to better understand each other.
During this segment the documentary spoke about a father (Hezi Segev) who lost his son Nimrod in the 2006 Lebanon war. He was just 28 years old and married with a young child. His father built a beautiful memorial called “Nimrod’s Lookout” in Rosh Pina which is a stopping point for many tourists in Israel. As a memorial, the Rosh Pina hockey team was named after Nimrod.
When I saw this, I decided that we as Canadian Jews have an obligation to do something for this lost hero. I made arrangements to get a Team Canada Jersey made with Nimrod’s name on the back and number 28 so that we could honour Nimrod at the Canada vs. Israel Masters game. When I contacted Hezi, the father, he was so emotional about this honour and thankful that we as Canadian Jews, were thinking of his family and lost son. He was thrilled to be part of this. In fact, he asked us to come visit him the night before at Nimrod’s Lookout for his son’s annual memorial celebration of his life.
So I attended and gave a speech in hebrew to 100 of their family and friends:
“ Hello everyone my name is Richard Schenker and I am here today to represent the words and thoughts of the entire Team Canada Hockey team who have travelled to Israel to compete in the 19th Maccabiah games. It is a great honour to be invited to this celebration of Nimrod’s life.
While none of us ever had the privilege of meeting Nimrod, we as Canadian Jews have a very deep bond with the State of Israel and great appreciation of the importance of the IDF. It was through a documentary on ice hockey in Israel that aired on TV across Canada that our team learned about the Segev family and the tragic loss of Nimrod in the 2006 Lebanon war.
Tomorrow, when we step on the ice to play Team Israel, we will be proud to present the Segev family with a special Team Canada memorial Jersey. This Jersey will have Nimrod’s name on the backside as well as the number 28 commemorating the young age, which he was taken away from his loved ones. Our hearts are with the Segev family and the families of his fellow crew members who lost their precious lives.
As devoted Canadian Jews to the State of Israel, we feel privileged to be honouring his memory with you. We invite you to come to the Canada Centre in Metula to join us for this special moment. Please be there before game time at 17:00 for the ceremony and feel free to cheer on our team or Team Israel!
On behalf of our entire team and our families we thank you for your time this evening. Our team would like to extend special thanks to the Segev family for allowing us to participate in this special evening with you. “
Am Yisrael Chai.
I feel that our team truly took in the entire Maccabiah experience by playing the sport we love and giving back to our Jewish brothers and sisters.
This was a trip of a lifetime and thank you for making this possible.