These Israeli hockey-playing teens came to Canada to escape the war

Israeli hockey players visit Canada
No trip to Canada would be complete without a visit to the shrine of ice hockey, Toronto's Hockey Hall of Fame, which is where these visiting Israeli hockey players spent their final afternoon in Canada on Jan. 23, 2024, before heading back to a country at war. Players Liv Sharabi (sixth from right, middle row) and Maksim Dashanov (fifth from right middle row) pose with the Stanley Cup. (Zac Kauffman photo)

One consequence of the horrific Hamas terrorist attack on Oct. 7 has been the shutdown of normal life for Israelis living in northern Israel. Almost 100,000 people who live near the Lebanese border have been evacuated from their homes to escape the barrage of rockets fired by Hezbollah forces—an assault that continues to this day. That has resulted in hockey being suspended for the small coterie of Israelis who play the game at the arena in the town of Metula.

But thanks to Canadian supporters of Israel’s hockey program and Maccabi Canada, 20 hockey players between the ages of 12 and 18 got a break from the tension and anxiety of living through the war: an all-expenses-paid, two-week trip to Canada. Groups visited Vancouver and Winnipeg before meeting in Toronto to wrap up their visit, with requisite stops at the CN Tower and, of course, at the Hockey Hall of Fame.

On today’s episode of The CJN Daily, producer Zachary Kauffman speaks to Liv Sharabi, 18, who plays defence for the Israel’s national women’s team; Maksim Dashanov, also 18, who played defence on Israel’s gold-medal winning U18 men’s team at the 2023 world championships in Iceland; and to chaperone Melissa Wronzberg, a Canadian veteran of women’s hockey.

What we talked about:

  • Learn more about Mike Levin and the Israeli U20 men’s national hockey team’s quest for gold at the IIHF world championships in Bulgaria last weekend, in The CJN
  • Read why Israel’s U20 men’s team nearly didn’t play the 2024 IIHF tournament for Division lll, in The CJN
  • Hear Melissa Wronzberg on The CJN’s Menschwarmers podcast on why women’s hockey had a moment during the 2022 Maccabiah games in Israel


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here. Hear why The CJN is important to me.