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California products pick up medals at summertime Maccabi Games

 

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A handful of Southern California players represented the United States this summer in Israel at the 20th Maccabi Games.

Players from the state made rosters on the Open and Junior teams. The Junior team came home with gold, while the Open squad captured silver and a third team in the Masters division, claimed bronze.

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The Maccabi Games, first held in 1932, are an international Jewish and Israeli multi-sport event now held every four years in Israel. It is the third-largest sporting event in the world, with 10,000 athletes competing.

The 2017 event took place July 4-18 in Jerusalem in a building normally used for basketball, but NHL owners donated monies to turn the facility into an ice rink, complete with ice-making equipment. It was the first time ice hockey was ever played in Jerusalem. The Open championship game was played in front of 10,000 fans and between the U.S. and Canada, there were 24 NCAA players on the rosters.

The Junior team included Jacob Abene (Los Gatos, USC), Ben Buium (Laguna Niguel, Los Angeles Jr. Kings) and Aydin Schwetz (Thousand Oaks).

Abene said the experience at the Maccabi Games was surreal, and one he’ll not soon forget.

“It was an honor to represent the USA, California, Bellarmine College Prep and the Jr. Sharks in an international tournament,” he said.

The Open team had a slew of Californians in Max Blitz (Chino Hills, Jr. Kings, Fredonia State), Zachary Feldman (San Diego, Lake Forest College), Chad Goldberg (Agoura Hills, LA Selects, Tufts University), Carter Horwitz (Tustin, Endicott College), David Jacobson (Calabasas, Selects, Jr. Kings, Oswego State), Tyler Levine (Laguna Beach, Jr. Kings) and brothers Jacob Rivera (Pacific Palisades, Potsdam State, Jr. Kings), Luke Rivera (Pacific Palisades, Fredonia State, Jr. Kings) and Nick Rivera (Pacific Palisades, Minnesota State University, Jr. Kings).

Dr. Anthony Abene, a team physician for the San Jose Sharks and San Jose Barracuda, was also part of the U.S. contingent that went overseas.

— Matt Mackinder

(Sept. 28, 2017)