(Surprisingly many) Jewish NHL players to watch this season

JTA – October is a busy month for American sports fans. The MLB playoffs begin, the NBA season begins, the NFL season goes into high gear and both the women’s and men’s professional soccer leagues start their seasons as well.

Sometimes another milestone is hidden under the headings of it all: the start of the NHL season. The first disc drops today, ironically, in Prague, in a game between the Nashville Predators and the San Jose Sharks. (The state’s first games begin on Tuesday evening.)

Another phenomenon that is not widely covered is the current and surprising number of Jewish hockey players in the league. This season has a surprising plethora of Jewish players – and here’s who to watch.

Jack Hughes

New Jersey Devils, center

Not everything went according to plan last season for the No. 1 selection of the 2019 NHL Draft. After several goals in the first game of the season, including the overtime winner, Hughes dislocated his shoulder in the next game and was off the ice for six weeks. Then in April, MCL’s injury ended his second season early with 13 games remaining. “I haven’t done much in this league yet,” Hughes He told The Hockey News in August.

However, there are plenty of reasons to hope that the rising star will reach his superhuman potential. In only 49 matches he played last season, he managed to score 26 goals and 56 points (goals plus assists). He and new co-workers Alexander Holtz and Ondrej Balat had such instant chemistry that they actually dubbed H20 (Hughes-Holtz-Ondrij).

Jack Hughes, #86 of the New Jersey Devils, in battle against the Chicago Blackhawks at the Prudential Center on October 15, 2021, in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images/via JTA)

Another exciting nugget: There’s a possibility that Jack’s younger brother Luke will join him at Devils next season. Luke was named fourth overall by the Devils last year, and while he was playing in his sophomore season at the University of Michigan, he had already shown himself as a rising force in the NCAA and on the world stage as a member of the US 2022 team in the International Junior Championships.

While it’s unclear how the brothers get to know these days, Jack and Locke (and older brother Quinn, see below) were born to a Jewish mother and a Catholic father. While their upbringing was mostly secular, the Hughes family celebrated Easter and Jack It was a bar mitzvah.

Jack Hughes’ first game in the regular ice hockey season comes on October 13, when the Devils face the Philadelphia Flyers in Philly.

Queen Hughes, #43 of the Vancouver Canucks, ice skates during an NHL game against the Los Angeles Kings at Rogers Arena April 28, 2022, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinick/NHLI via Getty Images/via JTA)

Queen Hughes

Vancouver Canucks, defender

Is it possible to discuss one of the Hughes brothers without discussing them all? of course not.

Last season, older brother Quinn Hughes set a Canucks franchise record for defenders with 68 points. Although only eight of those points were goals, Quinn cemented himself as the number one playmaker.

His only goal: to take more scoring chances on the ice.

“I want to score more, have more shots on the net and create more,” Hughes He told the press. “I think it’s a mentality and trying to rip it off and put it in the net.”

Quinn Hughes’ first game comes Wednesday, as the Vancouver Canucks face the Edmonton Oilers (and Zach Hyman, see below) in Edmonton.

Zack Hyman, No. 18 of the Edmonton Oilers, skates during Game 4 of the Western Conference Final in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Colorado Avalanche on June 6, 2022, at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images/via JTA)

Zach Heyman

Edmonton Oilers, striker

After playing with the Toronto Maple Leafs for six years, forward Zach Hyman signed with the Edmonton Oilers last summer and has never looked back. The left winger had an impressive season in 2021-2022, scoring 27 goals and 54 points in 76 games – which included 11 goals and 16 points in 16 playoffs.

Of all the Jewish players in the NHL, Hyman is perhaps the most vocal about his connection to his faith and his roots. He wears No. 18 for a reason. “I am a Jew, and in Judaism, 18 is a lucky number; it is tea, which means “life” in Hebrew. He told Athletic last year.

Hyman comes from a Jewish family in Toronto and attended school at the Hebrew Community Academy in Toronto. In 2013, he represented Canada at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, where he won a gold medal.

last hanukkah, Zack lights a giant candlestick with Edmonton’s Jewish community She told The Athletic in February that He finds it important to speak out against anti-Semitism.

You can watch Zach Hyman’s first game on Wednesday, when the Oilers face the Quinn Hughes Vancouver Canucks at home.

Adam Fox, #23 of the New York Rangers, skates over the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on May 8, 2021, in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babino/NHLI via Getty Images/via JTA)

Adam Fox

New York Rangers, defender man

While Adam Fox wasn’t the NHL’s best defensive man in 2022, the 2021 Norris Award winner still had a great 2021-2022 season. The New York Rangers De Mans scored 11 goals and collected 74 points over 78 games, including five goals and 23 points in the playoffs.

So far in pre-season, Fox wore an “A” on his jersey (signifying him as an alternate captain), fueling speculation that he could be in for a mix of high-profile leadership this season.

Fox originally grew up from Jericho, New York, in the Jewish community of Long Island, where he attended near the Jericho Synagogue, a conservative synagogue. He had a bar mitzvah shaped like a hockey game.

“There’s a lot of Jewish residents on Long Island, so it’s great for me to be representing this community,” Fox told JTA last year. “And you know, there are not many Jewish athletes. So to be one of the few and have people who come from where I come from, look at me… I think it is definitely very special.”

You can watch Adam Fox’s first game on Tuesday, when the New York Rangers face the Tampa Bay Lightning at Madison Square Garden.

Jason Zucker, No. 16 of the Pittsburgh Penguins, skates against the New York Rangers in Game Six of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the PPG PAINTS Arena on May 13, 2022, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images/via JTA)

Jason Zucker

Pittsburgh penguin, forward

to quote Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jason Zucker – who has a Hebrew tattoo on his left forearm – had a “nightmare” of the 2021-2022 season with the Penguins. It appeared to be exacerbating an underlying injury that required surgery in 2017; By December he was sitting outside of practice and games. He underwent another surgery in early 2022 and only came back in March to miss a few matches after being hit on the board.

After a summer of rest and rehab, it looks like Zucker may have his own arc of salvation. On September 25, he helped the Penguins open their pre-season opening goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets, looking quick and healthy on the ice.

Although Zucker He didn’t have a bar mitzvah, is still involved in Jewish traditions and holidays. “I was lighting the virtual sconce with my family while I was out of town playing juniors or college,” Explained to Penguins.

You can watch Jason Zucker’s first game as the Pittsburgh Penguins face the Arizona Coyotes at home on October 13.

Jacob Chicheron of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates after scoring the winning overtime goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Toronto, March 10, 2022 (Andrew Lahodynskyj / NHLI via Getty Images / via JTA)

Jacob Chekron

Arizona Coyotes, defender man

A good way to gauge a player’s talent and value is who lines up to trade him when he wants to get out of the team he’s working on. Since Chychrun made it clear last month that he wanted to be traded from Coyotes to a playoff contender, Many teams showed interest In the 24-year-old previous draft whose stock is still rising.

It is clear that he wants to win.

“Jobs are so short, time goes by so fast, and I’m in my seventh year in the NHL. It’s just crazy,” he said. “I don’t want these years to go on and I’m 10 or 12 years old and I haven’t had a good chance of not just in the playoffs, but winning a cup.” Stanley.”

She was born to a Jewish mother and a Catholic father, Chychrun told NHL.com that he grew up celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas.

Mark Friedman, #52 of the Pittsburgh Penguins, skates against the New York Rangers in Game Two of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 5, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images/via JTA)

Mark Friedman

Pittsburgh Penguin, Defender Man

After years of fighting for playtime, 2022 could be Mark Friedman’s breakout season. Some of his younger rivals seem to have better shots in the final defense position (although Friedman is only 26 years old) So stumble this season. Having played in just 16 games during his first three seasons in the National Hockey League, Friedman played in 26 games last year and saw some time in the playoffs as well.

“I had to fight for [ice time] “My whole life,” he told Pittsburgh Hockey Now. “Nothing new. So now I am ready for the challenge.”

The Toronto native who loves to cook bubbles He was raised in a Hebrew school In his early school years.

“It’s nice to be in a Jewish family,” Friedman He told the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle last year. “It’s different than most of the hockey world. You don’t see a lot of Jews playing hockey, especially in the NHL. It’s definitely cool when guys ask about it.”

Honorable Mentions:

    • center Luke Konin It traded from Nashville Predators to San Jose Sharks in July. He played in 82 games for Nashville last year, scoring 13 goals.
    • From 2009-2021, defenseman Jason Demers They wore to several different teams. However, this year the research has been; In January, Demers was selected to play for Team Canada at the Beijing Olympics and is currently signed to a professional trial with Edmonton Oilers. As of publication, there is no word on whether he will make up the final team alongside Zach Hyman.
    • straight ahead Nate Thompson, who played for the Flyers last year and converted to Judaism before marrying his now ex-wife, is currently an unrestricted free agent just released from a professional experience with the Los Angeles Kings. Thomson Alaska sports report He intends to sign with the Ontario hockey team of the Kings’ American Hockey League, hoping to continue signing with the NHL team.

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