Eizenman Arrives in Hartford
Second Israeli Player In the AHL
Eizenman Arrives in Hartford
By Gerry Cantlon
Clearly he is a player with one of the most unique hockey backgrounds you’ll ever see.
For Oren Eizenman is in one sense just one of the many young players making the their way through the grinds of minor league hockey in pursuit of making in the NHL, but his pedigree is one of the more compelling stories.
He was acquired last week from the Syracuse Crunch by the Connecticut Whale (nee Hartford Wolf Pack) for future considerations after starting the season with the Elmira Jackals (ECHL) bagging 18 points in 13 games.
Hartford represents his ninth city in just three years. He has hopscotched around to Milwaukee (AHL) twice, San Antonio, Manitoba and Worcester and in the ECHL played in Fresno and Stockton twice after four years of college hockey at RPI.
“Its not the most ideal situation or pleasant thing to do to move around all the time,but it’s a part of minor league hockey,” remarked Eizenman. In Syracuse he was roommates with defenseman Stu Bickel acquired as well from Hartford for the disgruntled defenseman Nigel Williams and briefly played with new teammate Chad Kolarik in San Antonio.
Eizenman played well in his debut for the Whale scoring a goal on a gorgeous deflection on a deep angle.
“Dupes (Brodie Dupont) made a great pass between the defenseman’s legs and I was able to get my stick on it I don’t if I got it over his stick or pad. We sent the fans home happy and we deserved it (the win).”
A large part of his hockey background has been played out in one of the least expected hockey environments-Israel.
A dual citizen of Canada and Israel growing up in hockey mad Toronto and he has competed for the Israeli national team three times including 2005 squad that propelled Israel to Division I status where he was MVP of the qualifying tournament scoring 10 goals and getting 15 points with Israel’s version of “The Miracle on Ice” .
When the Israeli team played Germany in its first D1 game, he played on a line with his brothers Alon and Erez but as the center he lined up against Marco Sturm who currently with the Boston Bruins.
“Were very much outmatched, but it was a great experience even though our talent level was a bit lower than theirs,” said Eizenmann. The team lost 11-2,but gained immeasurable experience.
The coach of that team was none other than Jean Perron-yes the very same one who won a Stanley Cup with the Montreal Canadians in 1986.
“Jean is a wonderful coach. He came to Israel and fell in love with it and has given much to hockey.”
His mother was part of a group that designed the logo for the uniforms which is one of the more unique designs the Star of David with a hockey stick coming from right portion of the star along with a metallic blue coloring a great jersey.
Eizenman has played in one of the most unique arenas the Canada Centre in Metulla, Israel a mere 5 minutes from the Lebanese border which is heavily guarded. The $40 million dollar building has been an important venue for all who have graced the surface.
“It has been a place for young people to come and play together and helps give people something else to think about (besides the military threats),” said Eizenman. Just how precarious is this arena location ?
The yellow flag of Hezbollah, the terrorist organization financed by Iran whom has informally annexed the southern portion of Lebanon and frequently send rockets into Israel over Metulla, sits on a mountaintop next to the border area.
“Sometime you realize when you are there is more to life than hockey. I have had the privilege to play with guys who go off into elite army units, a little different than AHL or ECHL,”.
He also played in a serious summer tournament in Metulla three years ago where he didn’t play much as he incurred two misconducts early on and was banned from the tournament. Former Wolf Pack goalie Dov Grumet-Morris played for the US squad and was the MVP of that summer get together.
While he is a very proud Canadian where he and his parents and brothers live, he is passionate for the remainder of the family that resides in Israel near Tel Aviv and visits on a yearly basis.
“I wouldn’t trade the experiences to represent Israel it has been great. I see how the game is developing and have seen what others use hockey for.”
Hartford might be the place he launches his solid pro career while his career has already carved a unique path already.
Story added on 1st December 2010 at 23:00 GMT
Story submitted by: Gerry Cantlon.