Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

New York’s Jewish Icemen

January 16, 2013 8:33 am 1 comment

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!

1 Comment

  • Always thought Kevin Klein of the Rangers who wears number 8 was Jewish, but I was told he was not. How can anyone not be Jewish with a name like Klein?

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.

Current day month ye@r *


  • Arts and Culture Features Opinion Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Playwrite Iddo Netanyahu: ‘Hitler Always Talked About Peace’ (INTERVIEW)

    Late Friday night, on November 13, I was headed for bed when an ominous news bulletin flashed across my computer screen – something about a shooting in Paris. It wasn’t long before the “small number” of shootings and casualties began to double and triple and quadruple. The locations of attacks seemed crazily disorganized, and the tweets and videos became more and more horrifying. It was a long night for many stunned observers. We tried to understand what was happening, and […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Theater BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    BDS Gives Belgian-Jewish Actress New Lease on Life in Tel Aviv

    In an interview with the Israeli site nrg on Wednesday, Belgian-Jewish stage actress Noemi Schlosser recounted immigrating to Israel after her career in Europe was destroyed by BDS. Schlosser said she had enjoyed success in Belgium and international acclaim until she was targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for her pro-Israel stance during Operation Protective Edge — last summer’s war against Hamas in Gaza. She described watching the theaters where she performed go from packed to nearly empty over a short period of […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    In Israel for Champions League Soccer Match, Chelsea Manager Says Team Not Worried About Security Situation

    The manager of the Chelsea Football Club said on Monday that he is looking forward to playing in Israel this week against Maccabi Tel Aviv, in spite of the security situation, Israeli news site nrg reported. Jose Murinho, who is already in Israel with his team to compete against Maccabi in the Champions League soccer match, was  asked whether he was worried about the current wave of Palestinian violence sweeping the country. “I have no worries at all regarding the security situation, and neither do […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Opinion In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    In the Middle East, ‘The Tail Wags the Dog’ (REVIEW)

    Blaming the West has become the most pervasive method of teaching for many Middle East studies departments, which are becoming the heart of pop-culture academia. Efraim Karsh, a distinguished professor of Middle Eastern studies at Bar-Ilan University and professor emeritus at King’s College London, in his latest book The Tail Wags the Dog: International Politics and the Middle East, dispels this myth. “Britain’s ‘original sin,’ if such was indeed committed, lay not in the breaking up of Middle Eastern unity but […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About

    With Popularity and Sales up, ‘Mensch on a Bench’ Has Much to Smile About – The Mensch on a Bench is so much happier now than he was a year ago. Look carefully and you will notice that, whereas the previous Mensch had a decidedly worried look, this latest version of the popular Hanukkah toy is flashing an exuberant grin. Is the erstwhile Mensch smiling because he expects to be in some 100,000 homes by year’s end? In truth, the change in visage was suggested last year by the “sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Adam Sandler Updates Famous ‘Chanukah Song,’ Includes Hulk Hogan, David Beckham and Scarlett Johansson in Latest Version

    Actor Adam Sandler unveiled a new version of his famous “Chanukah Song” on Saturday, adding a slew of Jewish celebrities to the ditty’s updated lyrics. The comedian — who released the original song about being Jewish during Christmas in 1996 — performed the latest version of the comedic track during the New York Comedy Festival at Carnegie Hall. Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee, actor Jake Gyllenhaal and “the two guys who founded Google” are among the famous Jewish celebrities now in the line up. Sandler also included lyrics about Star Wars‘ Princess […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

    Famed Israeli Violinist Itzhak Perlman to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom – Famed Israeli violinist Itzhak Perlman will be among the 17 recipients of America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom next week. He is the fourth Israeli to receive the highest civilian honor in the US. “A native of Israel, he came to the United States at a young age and was introduced to Americans broadly when he appeared on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in 1958. Mr. Perlman made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1963 when he was 18,” a White House […]

    Read more →
  • Features Spirituality/Tradition Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots

    Don’t Think Israel is a Luxury Destination? Check Out These 6 Spots – While Israel is a common destination for cultural and religious pilgrimages, travelers seeking the best hotels, fine dining, and upscale relaxation less often find themselves in the Holy Land. Yet in recent years, the country’s burgeoning tech scene has attracted a business crowd accustomed to ritzy accommodation. Besides, the permanent summer of Tel Aviv and Eilat makes them prime destinations for European vacationers. Israel’s populace managed to tame the swamps and irrigate the desert — so going luxury should […]

    Read more →