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Guy Rozin heading to the net for Israel at the recent Under-18 Division III Championship, held in Bulgaria

By SCOTT TAYLOR

It would not be  a stretch to say that the Rozin family is Canadian now.
Readers of The Jewish Post & News might recall that three years ago, Bernie Bellan introduced you to Roie Rozin, his wife Pnina and their three kids, who had decided to move to Canada because middle child Guy had a special skill.

 

 


Guy Rozin was an Israeli hockey player and the family’s story is one of courage, faith and sacrifice, all so a then-13-year-old could play the game he loved in the country where hockey is king.
And it all started with a young man named David Levin, the first Israeli hockey player to move to Canada and find some level of success. Levin left Israel in 2014, moved to Canada and found success with the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League. In fact, he wore an A for the Wolves this season and had 42 points in 43 games.
One hot day in 2015, Levin’s father, who just happened to be Guy’s coach, suggested to Roie and Pnina that their then 12-year-old son should follow in David’s footsteps, move to Canada and pursue his hockey career at the highest level possible. It was a crazy suggestion, but for a father who was once a professional soccer player, it was not as crazy as one might think.
“At first we joked about it,” said Roie as he, Pnina, Guy and youngest son Etay spoke at the Tim Horton’s in Charleswood (How Canadian is that?). “But it wasn’t long before we were serious. We decided to leave everything behind. We had good jobs. I was a warehouse manager and Pnina was a nurse. We had good salaries and a good life, but we decided to come to Winnipeg so that Guy could play hockey in Canada.”
Yep, it sounds crazy. Completely nuts, in fact. Since arriving in Canada almost four years ago, Roie has been working as a cook in a local restaurant while Pnina, who is still trying to get her Canadian certification as a nurse, has been working as a healthcare aide. They are not making the kind of money they did in Israel and they aren’t working in the professional fields that made them successful, but to do something grand, something sweeping in life, sacrifices often have to be made.
“It was clear to both of us that if Guy was going to have a chance to become a hockey player, he would have to do it in Canada,” Roie said. “So, we decided to move. We chose Winnipeg because we had an advocate, Abe Anhang. We didn’t speak English so we needed help just to get jobs and set up our lives.”

With that, the Rozins – Roie, Pnina and their three kids, daughter Roni, now 18, Guy, now 16 and Etay, now 12 – applied for Permanent Residence under the Nominee Program (because Pnina is a registered nurse) and they moved from the small city of Kfar Yonah, Israel, to Winnipeg in July of 2016.
“I thought it might be hard finding a team and having a place to play, but it wasn’t,” said Guy. “I felt I was good enough.”
Guy arrived in Winnipeg and hit the ice flying. He was first taken under the wing of Monarchs’ City Minor Bantam AAA coach Jeff Sveinson and then City Bantams AAA head coach John Fehr. He has now won three straight AAA championships with the Monarchs – Minor Bantam, Bantam and Midget. Last month, he helped the AAA Midget Monarchs beat the Sharks to win the 2019 title.
Despite breaking his wrist early in the season, he was a force down the stretch and in the playoffs. He finished the regular season with six goals and 15 points in 16 games.
To top off his season, Rozin flew to Bulgaria to help Israel finish 3-1-1 and in second place at the IIHF U-18 Division III World Championship. He scored the winning goal 40 seconds into overtime in a 4-3 win over New Zealand and also scored the eventual winning goal in a big 5-2 win over Mexico. He finished the tournament with three goals and an assist in five games.
“Bulgaria was very good,” said Roie, who accompanied Guy to the World Championship. “We lost to Bulgaria in overtime and finished second so Israel didn’t advance to Division II, but it was a very good tournament and Guy played well.
“He played on the second line and helped the players he was playing with. Their level of play was very different from Guy’s. But he was excited to see his old friends from Israel and I think that motivated him to play as well as he did. We had an American coach and he liked Guy.”

Guy’s immediate goal is to make the Provincial Midget AAA Wild next season. If not, he’d be fine playing another season with the Monarchs.
“My plan is to get him into Focus Fitness with AJ Zeglen and to work out with Dave Cameron at the Iceplex,” Roie said. “He is going to the Waywaysee-cappo Junior camp and he will attend the (Winnipeg) Blues camp and the Selkirk Steelers camp. If he doesn’t make the Wild or a junior team we will be happy to play with the Monarchs again.
“We know he has to get bigger and stronger. He should have a growth spurt yet but he must get stronger. That’s why I have hired AJ as his personal trainer.”
While the kids appear to be adapting to their new home in Winnipeg and their new school, Gray Academy, with relative ease, it hasn’t been as easy for mom and dad. However, sometimes, you do things in life to give your children a better opportunity, and for both Roie and Pnina there have been no regrets.
“It’s been fun coming to Winnipeg,” said Guy. “I enjoy it, I’ve been successful and I like playing here.”
When asked how he’s adapted to Winnipeg’s winters, Roie said he had no problem with the cold and the snow.
“I love it,” he said laughing. “I love the cold and snow. It’s hockey weath

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