Courtesy Ira Thomas Creations
Stick handling is one of the many skills Hebrew Hockey League players learn during the two hours sessions.
They range in age from 6 to 60 and their skill level varies from beginner to talented amateur; nearly 50 hockey players hit the ice at Long Beach Arena from October until summer as the Hebrew Hockey League.
Formed in 2010 by Cedarhurst businessman Michael Edery, 46, a native of Montreal but now a diehard Islander fan, and Long Beach resident Hank Levin, 28, who played at the high school, college and professional levels, the HHL provides an opportunity for Jewish kids and adults (the league welcomes all) to play a sport not typically associated with the culture.
“With Sabbath observances the kids can’t play on Saturday, so we have our league on Friday afternoon,” said Edery, who loves to be on the ice with his two boys, Avi, 15, and Yoni, 10.
Now in its fourth season — face-off is on Oct. 4 — the league which began with seven players is gaining its ice legs and not only includes a clinic portion, where players learn new skills, organized scrimmages based on age and talent level, but will add another 30 minutes to its ice time for skating practice. The two-hour session is from 1:40 to 3:40 p.m. The HHL is also seeking a slot at the new ice rink being built at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. The fee is $20 per session, and $10 for the extra half hour.
“The real point of emphasis of the program is proper technique,” said Levin, a hockey player since he was tyke, who played at Western New England College (now Western New England University) and for the Finland Varkaus Eagles and the Flint (Mich.) Generals as part of the Detroit Red Wings system in the International Hockey League, a U.S.-based minor league.
Coaching and teaching the players is the league’s strength. In addition to Edery, who learned his hockey on the “pond” in Canada and Levin’s experience, all the coaches involved have played hockey at a competitive level, including coaches Mordechai Moseson, John Osesi-Tutu and Jesse Lehman.