The RCCS Hockey Classic Ice Hockey Tournament which took place this past Sunday and Monday saw incredible Siyata Dishmaya.
The two-day event, presented by Dasmen Residential, was a show of Mi Keamcha Yisrael. With 400 players(!), twenty-one teams, and hundreds of spectators enmeshed in an unprecedented spirit of enthusiasm, dedication, and camaraderie, creating a tremendous Kiddush Hashem.
The RCCS Classic concept is the brainchild of Gabriel Jacobson, controller for Jordache. Gabriel’s love of hockey was only matched by his love of chesed and he thought of a brilliant way to combine his two passions. He then approached his childhood friend, Rabbi Yisroel Meir Merkin, RCCS’s Director of Organizational Advancements, with the concept, and together they established and subsequently expanded the tournament to make it an unprecedented success.
The 2022 Tournament was once again dedicated in memory of Yaakov Yisroel Topper A”H, by his parents, Mr. & Mrs. Aron Topper. It was the culmination of a series of events that started this past December in Florida, with the inaugural RCCS Florida Classic, continued with the RCCS Chicago Classic in February, and ended over the weekend with a whirlwind series of games in two professional arenas in the Greater Pennsylvania area, with players and spectators traveling in from across the United States and Canada, with 2 players coming in from Eretz Yisrael!
The players, teams, and fans spanned all walks of Jewish communal life – all joining to make a lifesaving difference for their brothers and sisters in need.
Once the final game was played, the RCCS Hockey Classic had raised a collective $4.3 million on behalf of cancer patients and their families.
This funding enables RCCS to meet the unfortunate spiraling need and help over 3,700 patients worldwide. RCCS provides medical guidance and facilitation; insurance premium payments and guidance; financial subsidies and emotional support – so that every patient can access first-class care and peace of mind on the road to healing.
The action began on Sunday with concurrent games in the Iceline and PNY arenas in West Chester, PA. Spirits were high as players gave it their all in a series of competitive play in games.
The event was a great venue for families, with special entertainment and activity programs arranged for the youngest attendees. A lavish offering of food and snacks was served throughout the day by the renowned Tessler Catering of Lakewood. Each family in attendance enjoyed special giveaways.
The highly anticipated awards ceremony, where all the top fundraisers are recognized and celebrated, was during the Player Appreciation Dinner presented by North Peak Capital on Sunday evening in a tent built right outside the Iceline Arena.
The evening opened with inspirational words by Yossi Hecht, whose mother A”H was not only a patient of the organization, but he too is currently a patient of the organization.
Yossi, addressed the crowd saying “I need a favor, you see me, I’m wheelchair-bound, I cannot stand up. But all of you can!” He then asked the over 600 players and their families to rise to their feet in appreciation of the great work of RCCS. The result was a deafening standing ovation for Yossi and all of those who are being helped by this wonderful organization.
All the top fundraisers were given recognition and shown tremendous appreciation by the RCCS Hockey staff. The players were given a special treat as the NHL Hall of Fame and Phil Prichard, the “Keeper of the Cup”, brought with them various NHL trophies and the players were able to take pictures with those genuine trophies.
But the highlight of the evening came when Rafi Meles, a six-year-old patient, who had come on stage with his father to address the crowd, brought the crowd once again to its feet as they were moved to tears by the sight of Rafi and his two-year-old brother Akiva, who had been Rafi’s bone marrow donor. From that moment on, every player knew exactly why they had joined the RCCS Hockey Classic, and what they were truly playing for.
Leading the Tournament’s historic fundraising success once again Menachem Katz of Team DASMEN Warriors, where the team not only raised a tournament- leading, $475,000, but he individually raised an unbelievable $360,000 on behalf of the patients of RCCS.
Menachem’s dedication and commitment paid off as he almost doubled the record-breaking amount that he raised last year. The team fundraising efforts were on full display as Team MBL, led by captain David Rosenberg, raised a combined $450,000.
Other top teams honored included Team Lakewood AVS and Captain Shimshi Junger, Team Subzero and Captain Joey Sutton, and Team Monst*rs with Captain Akiva Shapiro. On Monday, the RCCS Classic action reached a fever pitch at the all-day hockey at the Iceline Arena.
Every championship game was hard-fought, but only one team could come out the champion. In the North Division, Subzero retained its title as it beat the Goal Diggers. In the South Division, David Rosenberg won his first RCCS Hockey Classic title, as Team MBL beat Jackson Wild. In the East Division, the Lakewood AVS repeated as champions, beating the Gators in a shootout. In the West division, Team Eli defeated Team Beitler in a close battle. And in the Central Division, the Monst*rs dethroned the Pigeons and took home the trophy.
“If there was one word I would use to describe this year’s event, it would be
surreal as everything Baruch Hashem worked seamlessly,” says Rabbi Merkin.
“RCCS would like to thank each and every player for heading the call of
the cholei Yisroel, making it so much more than a hockey tournament!”