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FORMER TIGER BECKER OFF TO ‘OLYMPICS’

Article Courtesy: Langley Times, Gary Ahuja 

Like father, like sons.

Thirty-two years after their father Ben competed at the Maccabiah Games in 1985, Langley’s Kyle and Devon Becker are following in his footsteps.

Of course, while the patriarch of the Becker family competed in soccer, his two sons, 23-year-old Kyle and 20-year-old Ben are doing so as members of Team Canada’s ice hockey squad.

The Maccabiah Games — referred to as the ‘Jewish Olympics’, are held every four years in Israel with 10,000 athletes from 85 countries competing in 45 sports.

The Games, which began July 4 and run until July 17, are split into four categories of competition: juniors, open, masters and disabled.

The Becker brothers, both D.W. Poppy Secondary graduates, are competing in open hockey.

Canada is up against teams from Germany, the United States, Russia and Israel.

The Canadian side won their opening game on Wednesday by a 3-2 score over the U.S.

The brothers spoke to the Times prior to leaving for a pre-Games training camp in Toronto last week (June 30).

“I am excited to see what is out there, seeing a different side of the world and a different lifestyle,” Kyle said. “And meeting people from around the world.”

“This is going to be fun, I hear it is a big deal in Israel,” Devon said.

“I am just looking forward to having fun and the experience of playing with older guys.”

And making the experience even more special for the brothers is that for the first time in their hockey careers, they will suit up on the same team.

Both have played the sport since they were kids growing up in Langley, but with their three-year age difference, they were never in the same age group. And once junior hockey hit, they were not even in the same town, let alone the same league.

Kyle — after 39 games in the BC Hockey League — went the major junior route, playing in the Western Hockey League with the Medicine Hat Tigers. The six-foot-four, 213-pound defenceman has spent the past two seasons playing for the UBC Thunderbirds.

Devon, a six-foot-two, 201-pound blue-liner, has played junior A, spending last season with the Weyburn Red Wings of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

He enters his final season of junior eligibility in the fall.

Kyle was first approached about playing on Team Canada by coach Adam Shell who was behind the UBC bench for Kyle’s first season with the Thunderbirds.

The tryout process began last year with Kyle attending a camp back in Toronto.

Devon wasn’t able to attend because of his hockey season, but wound up making the team anyways.

And the brothers are hoping for the chance to be paired on the blue line.

The brothers are close so they are relishing this opportunity to finally call each other teammates.

“It is difficult with him being away (in Saskatchewan) but whenever he is back, we see each whenever we can,” Kyle said.

“We talk everyday and go golfing when we can.”

“It is going to be special getting to play with him finally on the same team,” Kyle added.

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