When an NHL team wins the Stanley Cup, its players usually drink or eat something like champagne or cereal out of the trophy. When Yaniv Besterman’s Yavneh hockey team won the elementary school yeshiva league championship last month, his friends in synagogue were thinking along the same lines although Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux probably never filled the Cup with cholent.
"When they announced at [Teaneck’s Congregation] Keter Torah that we’d won, there wasn’t really any ovation or applause," said Besterman, whose team won the championship in its first year of league play. "A bunch of people sitting near me just yelled, ‘Kiddush, Kiddush.’"
A Kiddush is a festive meal served at synagogue, usually following Shabbat morning services. And Besterman’s team has reason to celebrate: They completed a perfect 10-0 record this season including the playoffs and devastated Riverdale’s SAR, 8-1, in the championship game.
"This is the first year Yavneh has a team. I think as a sports school, especially for a first-time season, it puts us in place as far as the other teams are concerned," said Besterman from his Teaneck home. "There are eight other teams in the league, and now everyone coaches, parents included knows who Yavneh is."
Yavneh’s success this year, said Besterman, started with captain Adam Druck, who led the league with 31 goals for an average of better than three goals a game and recorded a hat trick in the championship. Druck will attend The Frisch School in Paramus next year.
"In all my years, I’ve never had a player this good," said Besterman. "He taught me things that I never knew. The way he handles the puck, his speed, and the way he handles game situations is unbelievable."
In the final contest against SAR, Kevin Liebman and Justin Zayat scored two goals apiece, and seventh-grader Yoni Stone netted a goal as well. The one goal scored against Yavneh was a typical total for the season, as the school allowed just 10 total goals in its 10 games.
"We had some unbelievable numbers this year, especially goals-against by our goalies," said Besterman, pointing to netminders David Lang and Benny Horowitz.
So will Besterman donate a Kiddush in honor of the championship, the numbers, and graduating stars?
"A Kiddush runs about $’,’00," he said. "Unless Adam Druck was my son, I don’t think so."