While they are still fresh off a championship victory, members of the Frisch Cougars ice hockey program can look back on a busy season. Although New Jersey State Athletic rules prohibit the team from playing varsity once the season is over, the Frisch ice hockey program runs much deeper than just having a varsity team at the State level. The goal of the Frisch Ice Hockey Program extends far beyond its on ice success. The program has had a major impact on the entire Jewish community both on and off the ice. The Frisch Ice Hockey team participated in a yeshiva ice hockey league at Mackay Park this past year in an effort to grow the game. Other schools represented included: TABC, SAR, Kushner, Ramaz, JEC and Flatbush Yeshiva. Frisch ice hockey gave students that have been playing ice hockey their entire life a chance to pursue their passion beyond middle school. Now, this yeshiva league is enabling students from other yeshiva high schools to have this experience as well. The Frisch team also hosts two Friendship Circle skating events in the fall and spring. Additionally, some team members will be participating in a benefit tournament along with other yeshiva ice hockey players, in memory of Dr. Dennis Freilich, on March 25.
Yeshiva players from all over the tri-state area have started gearing up for the spring season in which they hope to once again field two teams (over 40 yeshiva players participated last year) at Floyd Hall Arena in Montclair for spring league play. They will be looking to defend their spring league championship from the past two seasons.
The Frisch program has had a major impact on Jewish youth hockey as well. In the wake of Frisch’s success, the North Jersey Avalanche, one of the premier travel hockey programs in the state, has made accommodations for two shomer Shabbos teams and is planning to add two more teams next season. One team is comprised of fourth and fifth grade students while the other team is comprised of sixth and seventh graders. Next season could see close to 80 of our players participating and representing almost every travel hockey age group. Similar to the Frisch team, both of these youth travel teams have seen tons of early success. Both Avalanche travel teams came to the championship game wearing cougar patches on their jerseys and jackets to support the Frisch team and had a major impact cheering them on in the stands. While the Frisch ice hockey program has seen lots of success both on and off the ice this year, as Coach Abecassis said, “We are not done, this program is here for the long run.”
By Benjy Feintuch