Published on October 19, 2013, in the Montreal Gazette

Hockey season is upon us once again. All across the country boys, and now girls, are anxiously awaiting the renewal of activity in their neighbourhood league. Well, at least those who can afford it!

In that regard, in Montreal’s N.D.G. district, the community will have a new sport’s event to mark on the autumn calendar while at the same time commemorating the life of a remarkable and vivacious young man of exceptional qualities. And I should know – I was at one time his teacher.

Einick Gitelman was a pupil of mine some fifteen years ago while I was an instructor at Royal Vale High in Notre Dame de Grace, the school from which he graduated in 2000. I also had the pleasure of teaching his younger brother, Elan.

Einick was an unswervingly congenial and well-balanced adolescent in his dealings with others, and with me. Speaking of him, one of his very close friends said: “Einick was one of the most original and authentic individuals I’ve ever met. He was loved and respected by everyone who had the privilege to meet him. He had an amazing sense of humour and a strong sense of wonder. He had the a rare ability to adapt to every kind of situation and crowd.” I totally concur with those words. In fact, I had always said that given a class full of Einick Gitelman’s and I may not have retired from teaching when I did in 2006!

Most unfortunately, Einick died at the age of 27 in November of 2011. I had more or less kept in touch with him through Facebook and various social media after his graduation from high school. Indeed, I had seen him, and many others from the ‘Class of 2000’, at a tenth anniversary reunion in 2010. He had changed little and certainly had not lost any of that warm yet seemingly shy, engaging smile with which he was blessed.

Einick Gitelman truly loved hockey. Starting at the tender age of five, he had played for various NDG hockey clubs before finishing his amateur career with the Hurricanes of the N.D.G. Minor Hockey Association. The game on the face of it ran in his blood. He was also fond of children and enjoyed coaching various hockey teams in that same neighbourhood.

In his memory, and on the eve of the second anniversary of his tragic death, his family and many friends have organized a ‘First Annual Einick Gitelman Hockey Tournament’ to be held on Sunday, November 10, 2013 at the Bill Durnan Arena in Notre Dame de Grace. The intention is to amass enough funds in order to assist boys and girls who cannot afford the money for expensive hockey paraphernalia or the innumerable charges incurred in order to play the game. It is expected that the event will be a great success and that it will take place annually in the many years to come. Next month’s competition will start at 2:30 P.M. and end four hours later. The Bill Durnan Arena is located at 4988 Vezina Street, just a few blocks from the Plamondon Mtero Station. All are invited to drop by.

This year four adult teams will be formed for the tournament while a variety of activities such as face painting are being planned for the youngsters who are in the stadium at the time of the games. In addition, there will be food, music, raffle prizes, and an auction of various popular items, including a personally autographed Andrei Markov hockey sweater. As the old adage goes, a good time will be had by all.

With the advent of the holiday season only a couple of months away, what better way to both have fun while all along supporting a worthy cause.

Additional information can be found on the event’s Facebook page under the name “The Einick Gitelman Fund” or by writing to einickfund@outlook.com

Cheques made out to “The Einick Gitelman Fund” can be mailed to 4416 Prince of Wales, Montreal H4B 2K9

(Below, young Einick Gitelman engaged in his favourite pastime)

Image

 

 

 

Advertisements