Photo: The Detroit hockey team that competed at the JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest in California

Perseverance Pays Off For Female Hockey Player

The Jewish News
Steve Stein

Steve Stein

The first results from Detroit are in from the JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest in Orange County, Calif., and they’re as cold as ice.

The Detroit hockey team reached the quarterfinals of the 11-team competition last week but didn’t advance any further and fell one victory short of making it to the medal round.

Mark Weiss and Mark Berke were the team’s coaches.

Players were Ryan Becker, Ryan Berke, Jacob Budabin, Henry Ellenbogen, Alex Engel, Ty Esterline, Jenner Leib, Morgan Leib, Adin Lofman, Lance Markowitz, Jonah Stein, Jonah Stern, Robert Victor and David Wrotslavsky.

Morgan Leib
Morgan Leib

Forward Morgan Leib became the first girl to play hockey for Detroit and only the second girl to play the sport since it became part of the Maccabi Games in 2016.

The other girl is Hannah Goldenberg, a goalie for Stamford, Conn. She’s played all three years.

Morgan made history through her perseverance. She tried out last year but was cut from what turned out to be a veteran squad.

She turned the negative into a positive, making hockey an even bigger priority in her life and ramping up her determination to play hockey for Detroit in the Maccabi Games.

“Getting cut last year was a huge motivating factor in my desire to make the team this year,” she said. “When you fail, you have to get better and complete the task.”

Weiss said he saw a different player this year when Morgan tried out.

“She was older and stronger, of course, and she had a better sense of the game to go along with her work ethic and passion,” Weiss said.

Morgan started playing hockey when she was 8 and made her first travel hockey team when she was 11.

She transferred from North Farmington High School to the Detroit Hockey Academy in Wixom in January. She plays on the Little Caesars AAA U19 hockey team.

“I love my new school,” the 16-year-old Farmington Hills resident said. “I wasn’t nervous when I went to Maccabi tryouts this year. I was confident because I had trained and worked so hard, and I play against guys every day at school.”

A 3.7 GPA student, Morgan is setting her sights on playing college hockey at a school where she can pursue her off-ice goal of going into the medical field, most likely in pediatrics.

She’s the daughter of Eric and Jodi Leib and big sister to Noah, 14.

Super Bowl For Softball

It may not be Super Bowl Sunday, but Championship Sunday is just as important to players in the Inter-Congregational Men’s Club Summer Softball League.

Three division playoff champions will be crowned Sunday at Community Sports Park in West Bloomfield.

All six teams in each division made the playoffs. The participants in Sunday’s championship games were determined this past Sunday, when the first two rounds of playoff games were held.

Here’s the lineup for Sunday:

  • Temple Shir Shalom No. 2 vs. Young Israel of Southfield at 9 a.m. for the Rosen Division title.
  • Temple Israel No. 6 vs. Temple Israel No. 2 at 10:20 a.m. for the Greenberg Division title.
  • Congregation Shir Tikvah vs. Temple Beth El at 11:40 a.m. for the Koufax Division title.

All three regular-season division champions (Shir Shalom No. 2, Temple Israel No. 6 and Shir Tikvah) will play for division titles.

For more information on the league, go to mensclubsoftball.org.

Send news to stevestein502004@yahoo.com.

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