Drink Up and The Jewish Link would like to recognize 13-year-old Shai Sabo as this week’s Sportstar of the Week. The seventh grader at the Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey is the youngest of the Bergenfield Sabo clan. Shai has tried his hand at basketball and baseball, but if you ask him where his true passion lies, it’s with hockey. Or as his mom would say: floor hockey (as a Canadian, she says true hockey involves ice). Shai has been a goalie in the TABC Jr Hockey league for eight seasons so far, and is a proud member of the RYNJ Jaguars hockey team. While he knows that playing in the NHL isn’t a realistic goal, he hopes to play for the MTA varsity team and is planning on taking up rollerblading so that he can play for the YU roller hockey team one day.
Shai, mazel tov on your bar mitzvah and for being selected as sportstar of the week. Who is your role model and why?
My older sister, Yael. She’s a great student in school, and was involved in lots of extracurriculars, including playing for both the varsity basketball and softball teams at Bruriah all four years. She’s always there for me. She helped me practice my pitching and comes to as many of my games as she can. If she didn’t come she’d text me good luck before and check in on me after to see what happend. She just left for her year in Israel and I miss her already.
What is your favorite sport?
Hockey. I started watching it when I was little with my ima. She’s from Canada and is a BIG Montreal Canadiens fan. As a family, we’ve gone to the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the best part was seeing the replica of the Canadiens dressing room and seeing Jacques Plante, Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy’s goalie gear (although seeing the Stanley Cup and the Vezina trophy was great, too) My zaidy, z”l, was a sports a writer for the Montreal Star and always took my ima to the Old Forum for games and now she takes me to see the Canadiens when they come to play the Devils.
What is your greatest sports accomplishment?
When I was in fifth grade and I got my first shutout.
Who is your favorite athlete and why?
That’s easy, Carey Price. He’s the starting goalie for the Canadiens and, to me, is the best goalie ever!! (even though my mom still loves Roy and Dryden) Besides being a great goalie, he’s considered one of the leaders of the team. He supports many charities back in his hometown in British Columbia, including ones that help First Nation kids, and he mentors young hockey players there in the off season.
What is your pregame routine?
Before a game, I warm up by throwing hockey balls at a wall and trying to block/catch them to work on my reflexes. Think of Jim Craig in the movie “Miracle.”
What is your earliest sports memory?
My earliest sports memory is either watching Habs games with my ima or learning to play hockey in second grade on Sundays with the Youth Instructional Hockey/ Jewish Hockey League. And then deciding to be a goalie in third grade when I started in TABC Jr Hockey.
What is your weirdest sports memory?
We went to a Canadiens game against the Devils and my ima had made this sign that said: “Grams (Grandma) loves Dryden, Mom loves Roy, but I love Price.” We were sitting right near the Canadiens bench and when, in the last minutes of play, Price was pulled from nets, he was straddling the boards and looked up at the stands. That’s when my ima noticed that Price was reading my sign! And when he finished he gave me a wink, it was crazy!
What is your favorite sports memory?
Getting the chance to go to a closed Canadiens practice (thanks, S!) I got the opportunity to watch them work out, I got pucks from them and we got them signed by a bunch of the players. It was amazing!
What is your favorite thing to do when you are not playing sports?
Playing Xbox and hanging out with my friends.
What is the best thing about being a Sportstar?
Two things: One, to tell people about hockey; so many of my friends aren’t that into it so I’m happy to let hockey have a chance to be the star. And two, getting the chance to thank the commissioners and coaches from all the sports leagues I’ve played in...From MGBL: Mr. Steve Gutlove, Mr. Dave Norman and Mr. Dov Elefant; Yavneh Youth League: Mr. Howard Eisenstadter; BBO: Rabbi Avi Rosalimsky; Youth Instructional Hockey: Mr. Aharon Goldwasser: TABC Jr Hockey: Mr. Mo Fuchs and Rabbi Yoni Stone; RYNJ Jaguars: Rabbi Ezra Stone and Mr. Ari Gellman. Thank you so much to you and all the volunteers who help teach us not only the game but how to have middot, too!
The Drink Up Jewish Link Sportstar of the Week will receive a 5% discount on their next order @Drink Up; order at https://bit.ly/321HONC or message Steve Gutlove at 201 578 7425. Please send nominees for an upcoming Drink Up Jewish Link Sportstar of the Week to [email protected].