‘I belong on the ice’: The remarkable story of trailblazing hockey player Eliezer Sherbatov

Eliezer Sherbatov has enjoyed a remarkable hockey career despite a foot handicap that forces him to limp everywhere—except on the ice. (Photo courtesy of Eliezer Sherbatov)

Eliezer Sherbatov has played hockey all around the world. Born in Israel to Russian parents, with a career that’s taken him from Quebec to Kazakhstan, Slovakia and Ukraine, Sherbatov has wandered between worlds, considered an outsider by every culture in which he’s played. He was the first Israeli player to compete in the Kontinental Hockey League and remains captain of Israeli’s national men’s hockey team. When Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year, he found himself nearly trapped in the country, making an 11th-hour escape to his adoptive home in Canada.

What’s perhaps most remarkable is how he’s accomplished all this while while suffering from drop foot, a handicap that forces him to limp everywhere—except on the ice, where the stiffness of his hockey skates doubles as a brace.

Sherbatov is the subject of a new book, My Left Skate: The Extraordinary Story of Eliezer Sherbatov, by Anna Rosner, published by Yellow Dog, coming out October 2022. He and Rosner join to discuss the new book, his life’s story and his excellent hockey hair.


Menschwarmers is hosted by James Hirsh and Gabe Pulver, and produced and edited by Michael Fraiman. Our intro music is by Coby Lipovitch, and our outro music is “Organ Grinder Swing” by chēēZ π. This show is a member of The CJN Podcast Network. Follow the Menschwarmers on Twitter @menschwarmers or TikTok @menschwarmers. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.