Curling / Israeli National Team Makes Its Mark in Switzerland

Following up silver-medal debut in C-Group, Blue and White makes impression with three victories in B-Group Championships.

Patrick Dolkens

After unprecedented success in their first-ever international competition, the Israeli men’s national curling team followed up their silver medal at the European C-Group with three wins and four losses at the European B-Group Championships in Switzerland.

Just two months ago this team of five Israeli curlers played together for the first time in an old, historic curling club in Winnipeg, Canada. This was orchestrated with the help of Winnipeg-based fundraising consultant and President of the Israeli Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, David Greaves. Since that time in September, the Israeli curling team has made its mark on the international scene.

“I was really thrilled to meet the guys and to host them in Winnipeg” said Greaves. “I knew right away after meeting these guys that they would certainly make my life easier as a fundraiser and consultant for Jewish and other philanthropic causes. These guys are the epitome of a Cinderella story and everything that makes being Jewish and representing the State of Israel so great.”

Unlike the European C-Group where Israel went 8-3 to take home the silver medal, the B-Group fields much stronger curling competition. In addition, the top two teams from the B-Group get a bid to the World Curling Championships in March. The 16-team field was divided into two groups of eight, with the top two teams from each group entering the playoffs for the coveted World Championship ticket. Israel’s chances looked good as before the tournament even started France was a no-show. Israel began its campaign with a loss to Estonia but bounced back by beating Lithuania later that same day. The Israeli curlers lost three very close games to Turkey, Croatia and The Netherlands, but went home on a high note as they beat undefeated England in their last game.

The Israeli team captained by Adam Freilich will continue to train and compete in North America until the 2015 European B-Group Championships in Denmark.

“We have really come such a long way in a short time over these last few months” said Freilich. “Our initial goal was to just be competitive in the C-Group and there we were a few shots away from seriously competing for a spot in the B-Group playoffs.”

The team will compete across Canada and the United States in curling tournaments (bonspiels) to improve their game and team chemistry from January to April, and then break for the summer. Curling can be played in Israel at IcePeaks in Holon or at the temporary ice complex in Jerusalem.

AP