Jewish Champions of the NHL

In observation of the end of Chanukah (sundown tonight), here are all the Jewish players and coaches, as far as Just Wide could find, whose names are enscribed on hockey’s ultimate prize, Lord Stanley’s Cup:

Sam Rothschild – The first Jewish player in the NHL, Rothschild was also, before his death in 1987, the last surviving member of the 1926 Stanley Cup champion Montreal Maroons.

Cecil Hart – The Hart family figures prominently in Canadian — and hockey — history. He’s a direct decendant of Aaron Hart, the “father of Canadian Jewry”, and his father donated the league MVP trophy which still bears their family name. Cecil won the Cup three times as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens, in 1924, 1930, and 1931.

Alexander “Mine Boy” Levinsky – Levinsky got his nickname from his father’s distinctive shouts of pride from the bleachers: “That’s mine boy!” He won the Cup with Toronto in 1932, and Chicago in 1938.

Larry Zeidel – Larry “Rock” Zeidel was a hard-nosed enforcer from Montreal who won the Stanley Cup in 1952 with the Detroit Red Wings. Zeidel, whose grandparents were murdered in the Holocaust, endured antisemitic taunts from opponents in Boston, and suffered in later life from the effects of CTE.

Mathieu Schneider – A veteran of almost 1,300 NHL games with ten teams, Schneider won his Cup as a member of the 1993 Canadiens. He also led all league defensemen in plus-minus that year (+10).

Mike Hartman – The names Mike Hartman and Ed Olczyk were left off the Cup when their Rangers won it in 1994, as neither had played the minimum number of games to qualify (41 in the regular season or one in the finals). After protest from the team, the NHL added them. Born in Detroit, Hartman is a member of both the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

André Burakovsky – Austrian-born Swedish left winger Burakovsky won a championship with the 2018 Washington Capitals. Still only 25 years old and now playing for Colorado, the 2021 favorite among oddsmakers, he’s well positioned to win another one.

Steve Richmond – Also listed among the 2018 champs is Steve Richmond, who played 159 games in the NHL from 1983 to 1989, but got his name on the Cup as the Caps’ Director of Player Development.

Jeff Halpern – A 14-year veteran player who missed a game in 2005 to observe Yom Kippur, Halpern won his Cup this year, as an assistant coach with the 2020 Tampa Bay Lightning.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Colby Cohen – Colby Cohen played 19 games in the NHL, all with Colorado in 2010. The Avs traded him to Boston in December. The Bruins called him up for bench depth in their ultimately successful Cup run, but Cohen wasn’t needed on the ice. As he didn’t play, he wasn’t eligible to have his name on the Cup. (He did receive the team championship ring.)

Bobby “Mr. Islander” Nystrom – As a non-Jewish member of the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, call Bobby Nystrom one of hockey’s Righteous Among the Nations. Nystrom is perhaps best remembered for the overtime goal that won the Isles’ first-ever championship in 1980, and was a clutch playoff performer every year as the team went on to win four Cups in a row. Nystrom’s wife is Jewish, as is their son Eric (Flames, Wild, Stars, Preds).

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