As we mentioned before, we are fans of the NHL's New Jersey Devils. Or perhaps we should say we were
fans, because currently the league is mired in its second lockout in seven years. Thanks, Commissioner Bettman!
The Devils have given us a lot of joy over the years, including three Stanley Cups in a eight-year span. But there's one thing they failed to deliver: a Jewish player.
Oh, Jewish NHLers sure are a rarity, but some franchises (Calgary, somehow), have gotten more than their share. Yet, to the best of our knowledge, the closest the Devils ever got to a Jew was Max Birbraer.
Birbraer was drafted by the Devils and came with a rare (for hockey) back story: a Jew born in Kazakhstan (Greatest Country in the World!), he emigrated to Israel. He then moved to Canada to play junior hockey and was drafted in the fourth round in 2000 (making him the best Israeli hockey player ever... by default).
Sadly, Birbraer failed to make the Devils, toiling in the minors for years before trying his luck in Europe. He currently plays in Great Britain, a mainstay for the Devils... the Cardiff Devils, alas.
But at least he gets to play hockey. Right, Commissioner Bettman?
(Editor's update: In 2014, Mike Cammalleri signed with the Devils. Welcome, our first Jersey Jew!)