New York’s Jewish Icemen

January 16, 2013 8:33 am 0 comments

Jeff Halpern. Photo: Yossi Goldstein

The Nuclear Winter is over!

Hockey fans the world over, rejoice!

After the National Hockey League Players’ Association and NHL Owners (finally) came to a Collective Bargaining Agreement on whether the millionaires or the billionaires would earn an additional dollar for the next eight-to-ten-years, the regular-season for the NHL is set to begin play by week’s end.

The puck hasn’t yet dropped on the just-call-it 2013 Season.

The Toronto Maple Leafs had the first crack at changing their team perception since the lockout’s end, firing their president and general manager, Brian Burke, and they’ve still managed to lose a game!

It’s true that play has yet to begin and the citizens of Detroit are already in denial that there’s no anchor in the Red Wings’ defense with the number five stitched to his sweater.

The Los Angeles Kings will likely make the post-season to defend their Stanley Cup trophy, but who will join them in this strike-shortened season’s “Race-For-The-Cup”.

Who will dethrone the Kings to ensure Hollywood’s Royalty doesn’t become the first team since the Red Wings of the mid-1990’s to repeat as league champs?

It’s quite possible for the New York Rangers to assume that very role.

After all, the Broadway sextet could fare far better in a sprint rather than a marathon of a season.

Their goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, is in his prime, and it’s been well documented how he hates taking a day off from goal-keeping duties.

A 48-game season for one of the game’s top netminders may be just what the doctor ordered.

On that note, a remedy that was prescribed to the Manhattan club in the extended off-season was their need to shore up their ability to win face-offs when everything is on-the-line, late in a game.

Enter Jeff Halpern.

The Maryland native is coming off his second stint in the Nation’s Capitol. The former Washington Capitals’ captain will soon join a short list of concocted – and real – Jewish hockey players who’ve laced up their skates to perform on Broadway.

“In the Rangers’ first season,” according to NHL historian, Stan Fischler, “the Blueshirts’ press agents Bruno and Blythe decided that aside from an Italian player, the team also needed a Jewish skater to draw attendance from New York’s immigrant community.

The only problem was the team had neither a Jew nor an Italian on their roster. So they created one of each.

“French-Canadian goalie Lorne Chabot became “Chabotsky” for home games. Finnish-Canadian defenseman Oliver Reinkka became Ollie Rocco. Presto; you are now a Jew and an Italian!”

Of the few names that stick out on the small directory of REAL Jewish players are Stanley-Cup winners, Mike Hartman, and two-time Cup winner, Alex “Mine Boy” Levinsky.

Although Hartman only played 36 games with the Rangers over two injury-plagued seasons, his name did manage to make it onto Lord Stanley’s Chalice after the Blueshirts won the Cup in their legendary 1994 title run.

Levinsky, on the other hand, wasn’t well-known for his time playing for the Blueshirt Brotherhood. He suited up one season for the Rangers, and his best years professionally were played off-Broadway in Toronto and Chicago, where he won one Stanley Cup in each city respectively.

The odd nickname that stuck to Levinsky came due to his father, who used to shout at the home games he attended, “That’s Mine Boy!”

Hy Buller is one of the Jewish hockey players who is usually overlooked because he played only parts of five seasons in the Big Leagues, even though he won three minor league championships in the American Hockey League over an eight-year span.

The AHL trophies notwithstanding, the “Blueline Blaster,” in his first full professional season, finished a close second for Rookie-of-the-Year consideration to future Hall-of-Famer Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion, and managed to make that year’s All-Star team.

Buller was admired by contemporaries, Gordie Howe, and Maurice “Rocket” Richard; yet, he was most fondly remembered by his late coach, Frank Boucher. “Buller is an exceptional stick-checker, a fine rusher up the ice, and a solid point-man on the Power Play,” Boucher then-noted. “The most noticeable thing about Hy is his coolness under fire. He can adapt himself to any situation.”

Rounding off the “Jew-Crew” is Max Labovitch, who played for both the Rangers and the now-defunct, New York Rovers. Labovitch’s career spanned eight years, but he was mostly an afterthought on his Broadway club, failing to register a single point in his one full season with the team. It’s certainly nice to know there is yet more hockey to be played, and history to be written.

As far as this shortened version of a season is concerned, it certainly will be a doozy in terms of how fast the games will be played, and how meaningful each tilt will mean in the battle for post-season contention.

Although I don’t see Rangers owner James Dolan and others in the team’s upper-management hanging Star-of-David banner’s from the rafters to announce the arrival of Halpern this season, as the Blueshirts did for Buller in the 1950’s, it certainly will be fun to watch the former captain of the Caps performing his best on Broadway, making his landsman proud!

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Theater US & Canada New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    New Play Explores the ‘Arrogance’ of American Jews Critical of Israel, Playwright Says

    In his new play Mr. Goldberg Goes to Tel Aviv, playwright Oren Safdie tackles an issue that he has a major concern with: the relationship between Israelis and left-leaning Diaspora Jews with their “I know better” critical views. At the heart of the one-act play is Tony, a Jewish and gay Palestinian sympathizer who expresses strong anti-Israel sentiments when the play begins and at one point even sides with a Palestinian terrorist who holds his captive. Tony, who is also an [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    Hassidic Parody of Taylor Swift Song Apes Long Jewish Holidays (VIDEO)

    A Jewish comedy troupe released a parody video on Wednesday of Taylor Swift’s hit song Shake It Off in which they joke about taking extensive time off from work for Jewish holidays. “And the goyim gonna stay, stay, stay, stay, stay. And the Jews are gonna pray, pray pray, pray, pray. I’m just gonna take, take, take, take, take. I’m taking off,” goes the chorus for I’m Taking Off. Menachem Weinstein, the video’s lead singer, is the creative director at [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    On 75th Anniversary, Looking at the Jewish Influence on Gone With the Wind

    JNS.org – The 75th anniversary of the premiere of “Gone with the Wind” on Dec. 15 presents an opportunity to examine the Jewish influence on one of the most popular films of all time. That influence starts with the American Civil War epic’s famed producer, David O. Selznick. Adjusted for inflation, “Gone with the Wind” remains the highest-grossing movie ever made. It earned the 1939 Academy Award for Best Picture, the same honor another Selznick film, “Rebecca,” garnered in 1940. Selznick [...]

    Read more →
  • Featured Music US & Canada EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    EXCLUSIVE: Matisyahu Provides Most Extensive Analysis Yet of His Religious, Musical Evolution (INTERVIEW)

    Matisyahu got candid in an exclusive interview with The Algemeiner on Monday about his religious and musical journey – after shedding his Chassidic skin, yarmulke, long beard and all – from the start of his career in 2005 when he became a reggae superstar with hits King Without a Crown and Jerusalem. The singer-songwriter embarks on his Festival of Light tour this month, an annual Hanukkah event that stops in Montreal, New York, and other cities before ending in San Juan, [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Personalities ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    ‘Sheriff of Mars’ Unveils Endearing Life of Jewish Music Star Hidden in the Fields of France

    JNS.org – It was an era of steel strings, guitar heroes, and storytellers—high on heroin, rebellious. Outlaw country music, the hallmark of Nashville’s powerful and angry music scene of the 1970s, was the brew of greats such as Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Townes Van Zandt. But there is another, little-known music hero of that era: Daniel Antopolsky. A Jewish lad from Augusta, Ga.—the son of immigrants who settled in the south and ran a hardware store on Main Street—the [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian Actress Replaces Israel’s Gal Gadot for ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake

    Iranian actress Nazanin Boniadi replaced Israeli star Gal Gadot as the female lead in the new Ben-Hur remake, Hollywood.com reported on Tuesday. The Homeland actress will play Esther, a slave that Ben-Hur sets free and falls in love with. Gadot quit the movie when it became clear that filming conflicted with her schedule for the Man of Steel sequel. The Israeli actress plays Wonder Woman in the superhero film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Actor Jack Huston takes on the [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    Biography Sheds New Light on David Ben-Gurion’s Place in Jewish History

    JNS.org – There is one sentence in “Ben-Gurion: Father of Modern Israel” that made me sit up in surprise. I thought that I knew the basic facts about how Israel came into being, but while describing what it was like in the days and hours before the state was declared, author Anita Shapira provides one important anecdote I was not aware of. On the 12th of May, the Zionist Executive met to decide what to do. Moshe Sharrett had just returned [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.