Amir Gavarin, a YU junior from Kew Gardens Hills, and his teammates are flying high this week. Last Sunday, in Bethpage, Long Island, they won the last game of their roller hockey season by defeating Millersville University of Lancaster, PA, 9-1. In actuality, all of their scores
throughout the season’s 12 games, except for one lost in overtime, were won by at least five goals, an exemplary record for a first-year team. Among their competitors this season were Cornell University, Rochester Institute of Technology and St. Joseph’s University of Long Island. As a result of their stellar performance this year they will be moving from Division 4 to Division 2 for the coming season. Next Friday, they play against Rochester University in the playoffs in Feasterville, PA, where they will be hosted over Shabbat by the local Chabad.
The story behind YU’s initial roller hockey team is quite impressive. Several YU juniors and seniors were seeking a new sports outlet and came up with the idea of pursuing roller hockey. All of them had played hockey in their respective high schools and were eager for an opportunity to continue. When they approached YU athletic director Joe Bednarsh with the idea, he advised them that they could proceed but would have to be self-sustaining. With a magnanimous donation from a YU donor, they approached the Eastern Conference of National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association (NCRHA) for membership. One proviso of their acceptance was that the games scheduled for their team not be held on Friday nights or Saturdays. After long and arduous logistical negotiations by Gavarin and his co-players Avi Margulies of West Hempstead and Ari Drazin of Montreal, they convinced the NCRHA to respect their religious requirements—a true Kiddush Hashem!
Tryouts for the team were held at the rather limited MTA gym. Nonetheless, 60 young men came out and 15 were selected for the team. Thanks to the generosity of its sponsor, the team paid its league membership, and had the funds for uniforms, insurance and travel. Thus began their illustrious season which took them to remote towns across the U.S. Wherever they traveled, they found Jewish homes opening up to host them during their stay—including in Warwick, Rhode Island and Dracut, Massachusetts.
In addition to the exemplary performance of the entire team throughout the season, goalie Yosef Robin of Fair Lawn has been nominated for regional Goalie of the Year as well as having played in several all-star games.
Best of luck in the upcoming playoffs. If you wish to follow the game and any previous season games you can access them at the NCRHA website, ecrha.net.
By Pearl Markovitz