U.S. Maccabi Team Seeks Gold
U.S. meets Canada for gold Saturday with NCAA representatives on both sides.

The Maccabi USA open team poses during a tour of Jaffa, Israel.

The United States has a shot at gold at the Maccabiah Games, and head coach Greg Gardner credits a core of college hockey talent for the team’s success.

“We have a strong mix of players from California and from out East; it’s been an easy transition for all of us because of their NCAA backgrounds,” said Gardner. “They were well coached before training camp even began, which allowed for the template of our systems and game plan to be implemented quickly.”

Gardner – an assistant coach at Mercyhurst and a former star player at Niagara – leads a team that features 20 NCAA players, including nine from Division I. The U.S. will face a Canadian team that includes four current or former NCAA players in the gold medal game on Saturday.

The battle for gold will be a rematch of Canada’s 3-2 win in the preliminary round, the lone blemish on the United States’ 3-1 record in the preliminary round.

The Maccabiah Games are held every four years in celebration of Jewish strength and solidarity. The U.S. delegation includes three men’s hockey teams: the open team, coached by Gardner, a junior team and a masters team.

Gardner’s team has embraced the greater significance of the event and the coach said that has helped contribute to its chemistry.

“The team came together really quickly,” he said. “I was hoping when I recruited this team that a group of NCAA players nearly all the same age could do that, but this has been outstanding.

“The players on this roster are great people and were all excited to participate in the Games for the right reasons. They have allowed themselves to let their guards down; to be in Israel on a team of Jewish-American college hockey players might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

On the ice, players like Max Kalter (Connecticut), Eric Israel (Robert Morris) and brothers Jake (SUNY Potsdam) and Nick Rivera (Minnesota State) have been among the top performers as the U.S. prepares to meet Canada again.

NCAA Players at the Maccabiah Games
Corey Kalk Dartmouth
Ryan Kruss Lake Forest
Dan Radke Lake Superior State
Billy Seligman Babson

United States
Joshua Beck Babson
Sammy Bernard-Boymel Sacred Heart
Max Blitz SUNY Fredonia
Ethan Cohen Middlebury
Joshua Dickman St. Michael’s
Zach Feldman Lake Forest
Chad Goldberg Tufts
Carter Horwitz Endicott
Eric Israel Robert Morris
David Jacobson Oswego State
Max Kalter Connecticut
Jonathan Lazarus Massachusetts
Matthew Mendelson Penn State
Benjamin Pulley Connecticut
Jacob Rivera SUNY Potsdam
Luke Rivera SUNY Fredonia
Nick Rivera Minnesota State
Jacob Schechter Northeastern
Ben Sharf Colgate
Joseph Shecter Army West Point