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Jesse Michel headed to Israel for a new hockey opportunity

DAN CEARNS, The Standard

SCUGOG: Port Perry native Jesse Michel takes his hockey talents to the Israeli Elite Hockey League. However, he will be doing so in an entirely new role.

Michel, who has previously suited up as a goaltender throughout his career, will be playing as a left winger for the Jerusalem Capitals.

“The Jerusalem Capitals were looking for a tough player, someone who wasn’t afraid to hit hard or drop the gloves. At 6’3”, 240lbs, I’m the largest guy signed to the League by far,” Michel told The Standard.

Michel stated he was “extremely excited” when he learned this opportunity was available for him.

“Being 26 years old and many years removed from my professional hockey career due to injury, I never thought I’d get to play at an elite level again. I think it goes to show, if you work as hard as you can and aren’t afraid of failure, you can truly achieve anything,” he said, adding, “To get an opportunity to play pro once in your life, is a blessing that not many people get. I’ve been fortunate enough to get the opportunity to come back a second time. I’m going to give it my all.”

The journey will begin when he lands in Israel at the end of May, with games running in June and July.

“I’ll be staying in Tel Aviv just off the beach. Certainly a nice change from your typical Canadian season of enduring the cold and snow on your way to the rink.”

Michel likes to play a physical game when he’s on the ice. “Some guys have affectionately nicknamed me ‘Moose Michel,’ being a giant Canadian boy who loves to hit hard and fight. My game is similar to that of Tom Wilson or Dustin Byfuglien. I forecheck as hard as I can, backcheck as hard as I can and hit as hard as I can.” he explained.

When it comes to why he’s been successful in his hockey career, Michel points to his experience as a student at S.A. Cawker Public School.

“The level of dedication to extracurricular activities was unparalleled. I was made to believe in myself. The teachers truly cared about us and went above and beyond for us student-athletes every day.”

He now believes there are plenty more opportunities to come for him in his sports career.

“The dream is to play for as long as I can at the highest level I can. My agent told me we might have some interest domestically as well [as] at the ECHL [East Coast Hockey League] and AHL [American Hockey League]. Whether I’m playing here or in Europe, I just want to play the best I can. I didn’t fully appreciate playing pro when I was 18. Now I’m mature enough to understand how special this opportunity is.”

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