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April 30, 2013 11:18 am

Israel’s National Hockey Team Wins World Championship in Turkey Tournament

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Israel's national team celebrates victory at Division IIB World Championships in Turkey April 28, 2013. Photo: Irfan Kurudirek/IIHF.

Israel’s national ice hockey team struck gold at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division II Group B, which was a surprise considering that they entered the tournament in Izmit, Turkey as an unknown entity and the second-lowest ranked team.

The squad will move up to the top tier Group A following wins over China (6-3), Turkey (5-3), New Zealand (3-2) and Bulgaria (13-2).

“Overall we played really well and disciplined, and the first four games were extremely pleasant for me as a coach,” Israel’s head coach, Jean Perron, told the International Ice Hockey Federation’s official website. “When I talk about discipline I don’t only mean staying away from penalties, but also that the players are following the system that we are set to play. We upset China right from the start, we upset New Zealand, so we had a very successful ride. I wish we could have won the fifth game too, but overall we played extremely well.”

After finishing in 5th place in last year’s tournament, the team benefited from having Daniel Ehrlich, Oren Eizenman and Maxim Birbraer for the tournament. All three players were unavailable during last year’s World Championship. Ehrlich alone scored 11 points in the game against Bulgaria.

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  • Eric R.

    I’d love for the Israelis to pull a real miracle on ice and beat Sweden.

    In Malmo.

  • Brian Cohen

    Turkey wasn’t unknown at all. Israel first played against Turkey in 1992 (Israel won).

    Ice hockey in both countries has improved a lot since then, and in my opinion the Turks have done a much better job at improving their program. The Israelis rely heavily on ex-pats living abroad (like Max Birbraer who only lived in Israel for a few years before signing a pro contract in the UK).

    Israel needs another full size rink, and an overhaul of its national federation in order to really improve.

    • Alexander

      Sure, Israel has young folks from Canada and Russia, they have Hockey in their genes.

    • teckalypso

      The article says that Israel, not Turkey, “entered the tournament in Izmit, Turkey as an unknown entity and the second-lowest ranked team.”

  • Isaac

    Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan must be hopping mad.

    It is a great victory, both sporting and moral, for Israel.

    Well done.

  • M D Bedard

    To JEAN PERRON bravo Jean tu les mennes en gagnant to all the team great
    And boy’s you have to learn more but no problem gor forward

  • Barry

    Great to see Israeli hockey doing so well. No one could expect an outcome as good as this in terms of world hockey, so let’s see how far they can go in Division A, which will be worlds tougher.

  • Paul Ringo

    Great story. For hockey fans, this is one of those ‘miracles on ice’. Thanks for keeping us updated.