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Rams imports enjoying both school, hockey at St. Mary’s

 

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Saar Medvedovsky and Itay Bondar take the prize for coming the furthest from home to play for the hockey team at St. Mary’s High School in Stockton.

Try nearly 7,500 miles.

Both forwards hail from Israel and are excelling on the ice and in the classroom this season for St. Mary’s.

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“I ended up playing for St. Mary’s after looking for a place that will help me grow as a player and after hearing about (Rams head coach) Derek Eisler, I thought that he is the right person to learn from,” said Medvedovsky, a junior. “I like the personalities and the bonds we have in the room. The practices and games are very fun and the team meetings are as well.”

Medvedovsky added that the academic side of the school is just as top-notch as the hockey program.

“I like the way that the teachers interact with their students, as well as the academic level and the support and help we get when needed, whether it’s with academics or any other thing,” he said. “As a second-year player and an upperclassman, I think one of my roles is to lead by example and show the proper way to do things and to help build up chemistry in the room. I also want to push my teammates to do their best in every aspect of the program.

“I feel that I fit pretty well and that I have a voice in the locker room.”

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For Bondar, he wound up at St. Mary’s due to some hockey connections from overseas.

“I have been playing hockey there in Israel for a while and one of my coaches knew Coach Eisler because they both used to coach the Israeli National Team,” Bondar explained. “So we got in contact with Coach Eisler and got here as soon as possible. My favorite thing about the school is probably the people there. My favorite thing about the hockey team is the fact that we’re all friends and we all respect each other.”

Bondar, a sophomore, noted that he feels he has found his role with the Rams.

“I would say I’m a playmaker and I feel like it fits me pretty well since I’m not the toughest and I don’t really have the fastest hands,” said Bondar. “I want to try and keep my plus-minus positive, too.”

And while both players say that the city of Stockton is nothing like back home, they are relishing the opportunity to thrive at a school with a high-quality academic program and a growing hockey program.

“My school goals this year are to reach a high GPA that will enable me to enroll in colleges that I want to play for, as well as practice for ACT and SAT tests that will help me reach my ultimate goal,” Medvedovsky said. “My hockey goals this year are to get better every day and work hard towards my goal. I want to improve my vision of the game as well as my skills and to also grow as a teammate.”

Looking ahead, Medvedovsky and Bondar want to stay on the ice as long as possible.

“My long-term goals in hockey are to play junior hockey and then NCAA Division I hockey, graduate college and hopefully, play hockey until I can’t anymore,” Medvedovsky said.

“In the future, I’m looking forward to playing college hockey, but I haven’t decided what I want to do after that,” added Bondar.

Photos (top: Medvedovsky; bottom: Bondar)/umlautphotography.com

— Matt Mackinder

(Jan. 7, 2020)