Sherbatov a Montréal Junior
By Alex Di Pietro
Eliezer Sherbatov has had to overcome many hardships on his path to become a professional hockey player, but the 17 year-old forward was officially named to the Montréal Juniors roster last Wednesday as the only Israeli-born player.
“When I found out I would be playing for the Montréal Juniors, it was the best moment of my life,” said Sherbatov, a native of Rehovot. “The QMJHL is a big league and it's one step away from playing in the NHL, so I was very pleased and I'm going to try my best to help the team for giving me a chance.”
Standing at just five-foot-seven and 170 pounds, the talented winger is and has always been considered undersized. However, his small stature has never fazed Sherbatov, because he has had to battle through even greater challenges along the way.
“Every year I was always the smallest so I had to work even harder. If I was in the corners I had to battle with bigger guys and every year I got stronger and better,” said Sherbatov.
The Laval resident impressed many internationally as a 13 year-old when he competed for the Israeli national team at the 2005 Division 3 World Junior Championships in Bulgaria.
However, at 14 Sherbatov suffered from a harrowing nerve injury in his left leg. The impediment disrupted his development and seemed would never totally heal.
“I had two operations but my problem always came back,” said Sherbatov. “Finally, after the third one they said everything was going to be ok.”
Last season Sherbatov made his comeback with the Laval Midget AAA team and finished first on the team and third in the league for points as he amassed 29 goals and 32 assists in 44 games.
As his team defeated Trois Rivières in the final round of the playoffs by a series score of four to one, Sherbatov was afforded the chance to compete for the highly coveted and prestigious National Midget Championship, or better known as the Telus Cup, in April.
“There were a lot of scouts. A lot of guys from the OHL called me (afterwards) and some from Major Junior, because it's where all of the best teams in Canada play,” said Sherbatov.
Laval made it all the way to the semi-final, but bowed out to eventual champions the Notre Dame Hounds.
“To lose in the semi-final wasn't pleasant,” said Sherbatov. “But it was still good because we won bronze.”
In 2005 Sherbatov also got to represent Israel in a match that took place at Samuel Moskovitch Arena in Côte St. Luc. Interestingly the Juniors played a pre-season game two weeks ago against the Val d'Or Foreurs at that same venue-Montréal won four to three and Sherbatov notched a goal and an assist.
“When I played at Moskovitch (the first time) it was a great experience because a lot of the people were originally from Israel,” said Sherbatov. “And when I came back the same people were there, so I was very proud.”
Though he would without question scoop up the chance to play for Canada, Sherbatov says that Israel would come first if the team needed him.
When he's not playing hockey competitively, Sherbatov spends time at his parents' hockey school teaching students how to power skate and stick handle and says that's what he would like to do if he doesn't make it to the NHL.