TRAILBLAZERS IN ISRAEL
By Chelsey Goldberg
The year dates back to 2013 and my twin brother, Chad Goldberg, made the Maccabi USA men’s ice hockey team. My name is Chelsey Goldberg, a professional women’s hockey player and a member of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association, and I am so excited to share with you all my experience from the 21st Maccabiah and a story about this project that I had been working on for many years.
Long story short, I had reached out to ask if I could play with the men when my twin made the team in 2013 and 2017, and after I was told that I could not compete, I started to develop a relationship with the co-chairs of Maccabi USA Ice Hockey. We teamed up, along with a few others, and made this a goal together to create a women’s division. We did not know what this would entail or even how long this would take, but we knew that we had to start somewhere.
Fast forward eight years to July 2022, women’s hockey was finally present at the Maccabiah, and our first game was against Israel the night before Opening Ceremony. This was incredible. The arena was beautiful, and we celebrated this huge accomplishment with a ceremonial puck drop. I cannot even begin to describe the emotions that I was feeling. What a special event. What a surreal and indescribable moment. Being surrounded by Jewish athletes from all over the world with similar goals and values is something that is difficult to put into words.
Each team played each other a couple of times leading into the gold medal game. USA and Canada ended up playing against each other in the gold medal game, and while my team did not end up winning the gold medal, I can proudly say that we all won the gold-medal experience. We all made history. Women’s hockey was finally competing in Israel at the Maccabiah; that alone was a win. This whole experience was surreal, and I still cannot believe this one-time dream was finally a reality. This event could not have been possible without the support and help from EVERYONE. So, for that I am so beyond grateful and so honored to have been able to represent my country and captain the USA team. All three teams had an amazing group of women competing for each other, and competing for the bigger picture… to continue to grow the women’s hockey game. This was a huge first step in the right direction, a huge success, and there are many exciting opportunities ahead for women’s hockey. Hockey is for everyone, and everyone deserves the chance to play!
Again, this whole experience would not have been possible without the continued support from everyone at Maccabi, my family, friends, teammates, coaches, opponents, and all who made this once-in-a-lifetime experience a dream come true… So, THANK YOU! The lifelong friendships and memories made will be remembered and cherished forever.