By: Dylan Powell, Head Sports Writer
Yuval Halpert is a 21 year old freshman forward for the McKendree Men’s DI Hockey team. Recently, Halpert has taken on another position: forward on the Israeli national hockey team!
Yuval grew up just south of Tel Aviv, Israel. “I started playing inline hockey when I was 9 and moved to ice when I was 12. I fell in love with the game of hockey and traveled all over the world playing it” noted Halpert. He first made the Israeli National Team when he was 15, playing in the under 20 year-old class world championship, and since then participated in 9 world championships. Halpert also racked up 2 gold medals, and 1 silver, participating as captain of the under 18 year-old and under 20 year-old teams from 2018 to 2020.
While he was off of the ice, he served in the Israeli military as a fitness instructor for combat soldiers, recently being released over Christmas break after three years of service.
At McKendree, Yuval is an exercise science major and a sports psychologist, with a goal of becoming a physical therapist or an athletic trainer, working with athletes. He played Men’s DI hockey for the Bearcats this past season.
Currently, he is in Slovenia in training camp for the world championship in Croatia. Soon, the Israeli National Team will be playing against China, Croatia, the Netherlands, Spain, and Australia. “We have players coming from all around the world, in countries such as the USA, Canada, Israel, Ukraine, and Germany to be a part of the national team. During the season, we play in different places, but for two weeks a year, we are seeing each other and representing our country” said Halpert.
Speaking on his preparation for the tournament, Yuval mentioned the struggles of Covid and the amount of work the team has been putting in. “I’ve been waiting for this week and championship the entire year, especially after a 2 year break because of Covid. All of the guys that are here are guys I grew up with, and the only way I can see them is playing in the world championship, so it’s pretty fun being with all of them. I’ve been skating and working out every day for the past two months before the tournament, with some video sessions.”
Given the amount of time that has passed since the last tournament, Halpert was relieved to get the call to return to the world stage, playing the game he grew up on with the teammates he has played with for several years. We wish Yuval the best this coming week in the world tournament!