The Jewish Sport Report: These Jews are dominating the NHL and PWHL playoffs


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(JTA) — Hello! It’s a good time to be a New York sports fan right now, especially if you’re Larry David.

As aficionados of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” might know, Larry is a fan of the Knicks, Rangers and Yankees — and they’re all doing great.

The biggest story in town is the Knicks, who are hoping this is the postseason they end their 51-year championship drought. The team entered the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and, after a 30-point win at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday, are up 3-2 in their semifinals matchup with the Indiana Pacers. If they win, they’ll advance to the Conference Finals for the first time since 2000 and face the vaunted Boston Celtics.

Beyond Larry — who caught a game last month with Susie Essman — the Knicks boast former big-time agent and Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame inductee Leon Rose, the team president. Rose has received plenty of praise for the team’s turnaround. And the team’s anthem,  “Go, New York, Go!” was written by Jewish rapper Jesse Itzler.

The Rangers, with star Jewish defenseman Adam Fox, beat the Carolina Hurricanes last night to clinch their spot in the Eastern Conference Final, where they will face either Boston or Florida. The Rangers, who last hoisted the Stanley Cup in 1994, owned the NHL’s best regular season record this year with 55 wins and 23 losses.

The Yankees, meanwhile, have the most wins in the American League, despite an injury to 2023 Cy Young winner Gerrit Cole. And in the National League, the Mets, who feature Jewish outfielder Harrison Bader… are doing OK? Fine, so they’re under .500, but hey, it could be worse, right? (Isn’t that the official team slogan?)

All in all, as Larry would say, “Pretty, pretty, pretty, good!”

The Jewish stars of this year’s hockey playoffs 

Zach Hyman and Quinn Hughes

Zach Hyman, left, and Quinn Hughes battle for the puck during Game Four of the Second Round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Canada, May 14, 2024. (Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

As it turns out, it’s also a good time to be a Jewish hockey player. Especially if you play in Boston.

In the NHL playoffs, Jeremy Swayman, Zach Hyman, Adam Fox and Quinn Hughes have all excelled for their respective teams. Here are the highlights:

Swayman, the Boston Bruins goalie, owns a .933 save percentage, among the best in NHL playoff history. Swayman has made 322 saves, the most in this year’s playoffs, and has faced 345 shots on goal, by far the most of any goalie this postseason. Check out this clutch stop Swayman made in the final seconds of the Bruins’ 2-1 Game 5 win on Tuesday to save Boston’s season. Boston trails Florida 3-2 in the Eastern Conference semis.

Hyman, the Edmonton Oilers left winger, has extended his career year with nine goals — tied for the most this postseason — and two assists in 10 games. And yes, he’s also won the admiration of none other than Shaquille O’Neal. Edmonton trails Vancouver 3-2 in the Western Conference semis.

On the other side of that matchup, Hughes, the Vancouver Canucks captain and star defenseman, has nine assists in 11 games during these playoffs. (The Canucks’ roster also includes Jewish defenseman Mark Friedman, though he has not appeared in the playoffs.)

And the Rangers’ Adam Fox has tallied four assists with 25 blocked shots.

Over in the PWHL, Boston goalie Aerin Frankel has been playing on another level, with 141 saves on 145 shots on goal, good for an insane .972 save percentage. Boston swept Montreal in three games to reach the finals and will face either Toronto — with Jewish forward Samantha Cogan —  or Minnesota in the first-ever Walter Cup. Boston’s squad also features defender Kaleigh Fratkin and backup goalie Cami Kronish.

Frankel, whom one broadcaster dubbed “The Green Monster,” set numerous program records while at Northeastern University and won the 2021 Patty Kazmaier Award, given to the top collegiate women’s hockey player in the U.S.

Read on for this weekend’s playoff hockey schedule.

Halftime report 

JEWS ON FIRST. It’s Jewish American Heritage Month, and on Tuesday, the San Diego Padres held their Jewish Heritage Celebration, giving out blue and white striped hats to fans. On Wednesday, the Boston Red Sox held their annual Jewish Heritage Night, distributing Hebrew City Connect jerseys and featuring a very Jewish first pitch — from comedian and former Red Sox employee Alex Edelman to former Red Sox and Team Israel catcher Ryan Lavarnway. Check out this list of Jewish-themed nights across professional baseball that Jewish MLB employee Zack Raab put together.

PUT ME IN, COACH. Sports media personality Doug Gottlieb has been named the new men’s basketball coach at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Gottlieb, whose only coaching experience came at the 2009 and 2017 Maccabiah Games, called the opportunity “an honor beyond measure.”

ON THE MOVE. It was a busy week for Jewish MLB players on the transaction log. Veteran reliever and Team Israel alum Richard Bleier opted out of his minor league deal with the Washington Nationals and will become a free agent. Meanwhile, the Nationals signed fellow Team Israel player C.J. Stubbs (younger brother of Garrett Stubbs) to a minor league contract, days after Stubbs was released by the Houston Astros. And Israeli player Assaf Lowengart has yet to play for the Frontier League’s New York Boulders due to a visa issue.

WOWIE, HOWIE. Jewish sportswriter and friend of the Sport Report Howard Megdal interviewed USC women’s basketball coach Lindsay Gottlieb on his “Locked On Women’s Basketball” podcast this week. Megdal, author of “The Baseball Talmud,” also released his latest book this month, on the rise of the WNBA. Mazel tov, Howard!

BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. Netflix confirmed this week that a “Happy Gilmore” sequel is on the way. The 1996 sports comedy, along with his 1995 hit “Billy Madison,” helped propel star and co-writer Adam Sandler to superstardom. And it seems like Sandler’s still got his swing.

Jews in sports to watch this weekend (all times ET)


Jeremy Swayman and the Boston Bruins host the Florida Panthers tonight at 7 p.m. If the Bruins win, Game 7 would be Sunday. Zach Hyman and the Edmonton Oilers host Quinn Hughes and the Vancouver Canucks Saturday at 8 p.m. in Game 6; Vancouver leads 3-2. If necessary, Game 7 would be Monday.


Max Fried takes the mound for the Atlanta Braves tonight at 7:20 p.m. against the San Diego Padres. Fried again flirted with a no-hitter on Saturday. Dean Kremer starts for the Baltimore Orioles Saturday at 4:05 p.m. against the Seattle Mariners. Alex Bregman — who blasted two homers with 4 RBIs on Monday — and his Houston Astros host the Milwaukee Brewers in a three-game series this weekend. Zack Gelof, who returned from the injured list this week, and his Oakland Athletics face the Kansas City Royals in a three-game set.


Matt Turner and Nottingham Forest face Burnley Saturday at 11 a.m. Turner’s squad is at risk of being relegated — here’s how the Premier League’s final weekend could play out. In the MLS, DeAndre Yedlin’s F.C. Cincinnati, Steve Birnbaum’s D.C. United and Daniel Edelman’s New York Red Bulls all play Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Zac MacMath and Real Salt Lake host the Colorado Rapids Saturday at 9:30 p.m.


Max Homa, currently ranked No. 9 on the PGA tour, is competing in the PGA Championship this weekend in Louisville.


Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll, who’s currently 11th in the Formula One standings, is on the grid for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix Sunday at 9 a.m.

Caught guessing

On Monday, Philadelphia Phillies catcher Garrett Stubbs threw out New York Mets outfielder Harrison Bader as he tried to steal second base, marking a rare fully Jewish caught stealing. The play sparked discussion online: have there been other instances of a Jewish catcher throwing out a Jewish baserunner?

Our friends at the Jewish Baseball Museum identified at least one other time this has happened. Can you guess who the two players were? Respond to this newsletter, or email us at, with your answer!

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