For many guys, once they finish their high school or college athletic stint, they face a decline in opportunities to compete as part of a team. While juggling career and family responsibilities, most have eased into weekly basketball leagues or Sunday softball, but a growing number of local athletes are finding time to compete on the ice hockey rink. There are several teams on the local rinks (Ice House, Sport-O-Rama, Ice Vault, Clary Anderson, Mackay, etc.) as well as weekly recreational and choose-up games.
A few weeks ago, a local team, the Myraj Lions, donned their championship T-shirts as Division 7 champs of the winter 2016/17 season. The Myraj Lions have had a lot of players on their roster over the years. Some guys move away, others have hung up their skates after playing, while others have just taken a hiatus. David Markowitz, Lions team captain since 2009, told The Jewish Link “The best thing about our team is it enables us to come out play one or two nights a week with friends, teammates and even some family members. I feel exceptionally blessed to be at the point where some of my kids are old enough to play with us and have become integral parts of our team. It is truly an amazing experience to be out there and feel the drive and excitement of the game with your loved ones around you. Watching my sons, on a few occasions, get the game winners is only second best to celebrating their accomplishments in learning or in avodas Hashem. I know that’s sounds scripted or corny, but it is the truth in our house. Even ice hockey is, and can be, a way to serve Hashem. Hashem has blessed me with (mostly good) health and longevity and permitted me to play with my kids and friends. Markowitz also noted “We could not continue to play without the help of Hashem and our sponsors over the years: Foy Seplowitz, Myraj Media, Tenafly Smiles and Arcar Motors.”
This week, in the spirit of Father’s Day, The Jewish Link of New Jersey and Gotham Burger would like to recognize some of the dads on the Myraj Lions as this week’s Sportstars of the Week: Captain David Markowitz, fellow defenseman James Seplowitz and wings Alan Teller, Josh Krug, Doug Marks, Yaakov Rosenberg and Moshe Rosenberg. Instead of interviewing the Sportstars, we interviewed their greatest trophies—their children.
Zev, 19: My dad’s favorite athlete is Brent Burns. He models his defensive skills after him and he’s always wanted to grow out a ponytail. His pregame routine usually involves driving home to pick up his equipment, eating his bean-based protein noodles for energy and then heading out to the game; nothing too crazy. His greatest accomplishment is his durability (bli ayin hara) throughout his career, only suffering one serious injury, a torn meniscus, throughout his career. The two things that I have benefited from the most by having a Sportstar dad is how he always understood what training it took for me to get to where i wanted to get in sports. He was always there helping, pushing and coaching so we could reach those goals. The second thing is that I loved watching my dad play, as I was growing up, in the CBY softball league and at the Ice House. Now I just really love playing with him in both those leagues. Very few of my friends get that privilege—of being able to play competitively with their dad.
Azriel, 19: My dad’s favorite sport is hockey and his favorite athlete is Mark Messier. Before every game my dad makes these weird smoothies from any vegetables he could find in the fridge. His greatest sports accomplishments all come from coaching his kids. The best thing about having a Sportstar dad is being able to write about him and his sports teams.
Ilana, 18: My father’s favorite sport is hockey but he also plays softball and coaches our Bruriah softball team. Before games my dad gets pumped up with music. His greatest athletic accomplishment is winning the 2016/17 Division 7 ice hockey championship. My dad is one of my biggest role models in sports and now everyone else will get to see how great he is.
Talya, 16: My dad’s favorite sports are softball and ice hockey. His favorite athletes are Don Mattingly and Brian Leetch. Before a game my dad likes to listen to old (rock) music. His greatest athletic accomplishment is surviving two years as the coach of the Bruriah Lightning softball team. It’s great to have a Sportstar dad because now everyone will know how amazing my dad is. He’s always pushing me and my siblings to be our best; there is no way we would have accomplished all we have to this point without him. He also proves you can be a Sportstar at any age.
Shana, 11: My dad’s favorite sports are ice hockey and softball, but his favorite athlete is Eli Manning. Before each game my dad puts on very loud pump up music in the car. The greatest part of having a Sportstar dad is that he practices with me and is always sharing coaching points for me to improve. He is a great person to look to for help.
Ezra, 15: My dad’s favorite sport is ice hockey, but his favorite athlete of all time is Scottie Pippen. Growing up he was a huge Bulls fan and thought Scottie was the most versatile player. My dad doesn’t have a pregame ritual, he just suits up and plays the game. His greatest athletic accomplishment was when he completed a Spartan race with some of his friends. He came home covered in mud and completely exhausted. He said he used muscles he didn’t know he had. The best thing about having a Sportstar dad is that he is a great role model to me and teaches me that I can accomplish any goal no matter how old I am, as long as I have determination and a positive attitude.
AJ, 13: My dad’s favorite sport is definitely hockey. His favorite athlete is Dan Girardi because he devotes so much of his body to block shots and he fights off the pain and keeps on playing. My father always says, “he’s a selfless player.” Before each game my dad skates around the ice and shoots around to loosen up. His greatest athletic accomplishment is being a member of the Lions championship team (in my dad’s last full season playing ice hockey). I remember before the game I wished him good luck. Since it was a late game (11:00 p.m.), I was sleeping when he got home. In the morning I woke up and asked him if he won. When he said yes I was so happy! The best thing about having a Sportstar dad is that we will probably get to go out to eat and celebrate!
Suri, 9: My dad’s favorite sport is hockey (he is obsessed) and his favorite player is everyone on the Rangers. Before he goes to play he hugs and kisses me goodbye after I wish him good luck. my dad has so many athletic accomplishments: he biked 22 miles the other night—just for fun. The best thing about having a Sportstar dad is that I can look up to him and hope that one day I can be as strong as him.
Samantha, 9; Ryan, 7; Hailey, 4; Ethan, 17 months; and Alexandra, 17 months: Our dad’s favorite sport is hockey. We are his favorite athletes, but if we had to pick a second it would be Stonewall James Seplowitz, aka “The Sniper.” Before each game our dad likes to stretch. His greatest athletic accomplishment is watching us play, and winning three straight ISCA Cups. The best thing about having a Sportstar dad is getting to go to games with him and being able to watch him play!
Alex, 3: My dad’s favorite sport is hockey. His favorite athlete is anyone in the Paw Patrol. Before each game my dad says goodbye to me and kisses me goodnight. My dad’s greatest athletic accomplishment is winning the ice hockey championship. The best thing about having a Sportstar dad is that he can play sports with me.
Jordana, 13; Aidan, 10; Danielle, 8: Our dad’s favorite sport is hockey and his favorite athletes are Henrik Lundqvist and Ryan McDonagh. His greatest sports accomplishment is winning the ice hockey championship. The greatest thing about having a Sportstar dad, is having a dad who can play sports with us.
Malkie, 11: My dad’s favorite sport is baseball, but his favorite athlete is former Knick John Starks. My dad gets ready for games by putting on his knee brace. His greatest athletic accomplishment is tearing not one, but both of his ACLs. The best thing about having a Sportstar dad is that he taught me how to be as awesome as i am.:)
Yosef, 9: My father’s favorite sport is baseball and his favorite athlete is Yoenis Cespedes. My dad warms up for the games by practicing with me. His greatest athletic accomplishment was scoring six goals in one game. The best thing about having a Sportstar dad is that, since I don’t have a brother, I can play with him.
Rivki, 6: My father’s favorite sport is baseball. I don’t really know who his favorite athlete is. My dad gets ready for each game by getting all his equipment. The greatest thing about having a Sportstar dad is watching him play.
Aliza, 4: My Daddy’s favorite sport is baseball.
Moshe ‘MoRo’ Rosenberg
Azarya, 9: My father’s favorite sport is hockey, but his favorite athlete is Aaron Judge. He doesn’t really have a pregame routine but his greatest athletic accomplishment is winning the CBY softball championship four seasons in a row. The best thing about having a Sportstar dad is that he’s great at cheering me up if I lose a game.
Yakir, 7: My dad’s favorite sport is baseball, but his favorite athlete is Rick Nash. His greatest athletic accomplishment was coaching my flag football championship team. The best thing about having a Sportstar dad is that he makes up great football plays so I can get a touchdown.
Meira, 3: My dad’s favorite sport is hockey and his favorite athlete is Mats ‘Zuuuc’ Zuccarello. Before every game my dad rests his legs and his greatest athletic accomplishment is being a nice coach. The best thing about having a sportstar dad is that he’s the best abba in the whole wide world, forever and ever.
The Jewish Link of New Jersey and Gotham Burger Sportstars of the Week will receive a $10 gift certificate to Gotham Burger. Please send nominees for next week’s Jewish Link of New Jersey and Gotham Burger Sportstar of the Week to