The Jewish Link and The Humble Toast would like to recognize Gabriel Hornblass as this week’s Sportstar of the Week. The 12th grader at Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy (SAR), is the captain of the SAR Sting varsity hockey team and capped off his senior year with an overtime championship winning goal. SAR varsity hockey coach Jacob Schwartzman told The Jewish Link, “Throughout the whole season Gabriel showed us day in and day out why he was our captain. From the first practice you were able to see the intensity in his play and how it translated with the rest of the team. While we know the great skill he has as one of the top players in the league, his leadership was unmatched. If we lost a game or weren’t playing well, he was at the helm making sure that the guys knew what our ultimate goal was. Playing at an elite level doesn’t just mean scoring and making nice moves, but to elevate the play of the other guys who you are playing with. Gabriel has the ability to make every guy around him better, which as a coach is amazing to see. After getting injured during one of the the final games of the season and not knowing if he would be able to play in the playoffs it was great having him back for the semifinals and championship. For a kid who wanted to win the championship as badly as he did, after three years of trying to reach the finals, finally getting there and scoring the overtime goal was a poetic ending to his amazing career.”
Gabriel, congrats on the championship and on being recognized as this week’s Sportstar of the Week! Who is your role model and why?
I have two role models, my parents because they always put me in the best position to succeed since I was a young kid. They always tell me to work hard and it will eventually pay off. They would always bring me to games and always be cheering me on.
What is your favorite sport?
Hockey. I’ve been playing since I was 3 and always have had love for the game and it’s never gone away. I love how it’s a team game and you need to be all in to win. The feeling of scoring a goal and winning are the best feelings that you can’t describe.
What is your pregame routine?
I only drink water and have a big meal beforehand. But during warmups I like to stay loose, keep moving around and not stay in one spot so my legs are ready to go for game time.
What is your greatest sports accomplishment?
Winning the Yeshiva League championship and winning the New Jersey state title on a travel ice hockey team.
Who is your favorite athlete and why?
Matthew Tkachuk because he has so much skill and scores a lot, while also playing physical, always doing his job right and putting his team in the best position to win.
What is your earliest sports memory?
Going to the Winter Classic in Philadelphia with my father when the Rangers played the Flyers. I remember it being so cold, I had to wear five layers but it was the best game I’ve been too and the Rangers won, which makes it even better.
What is your favorite thing to do when you are not playing sports?
Hang out with my family and friends and play some Xbox.
What is your favorite sports memory?
When the Rangers beat the Capitals in the second round in 2015 after being down 3-1 and Derek Stepan had the overtime winner.
What is the best thing about being a Sportstar?
The best thing about being a Sportstar is being able to share this with my team. We all worked so hard and wanted it so bad and it finally paid off. Hockey is a team sport and we all played like a team and now we can all share this memory together. I’m thankful for all of them and they will always be family, but the best part is to be able to share this with Sting nation.
The Humble Toast Star of the week will receive a $25 gift card to The Humble Toast. Please send nominees for an upcoming The Humble Toast Jewish Link Stars of the Week to [email protected].
By Jewish Link Sports Desk