Rivera Brothers of Pacific Palisades Win Silver at Maccabi Games

Brothers Nick, Luke and Jake Rivera played on the USA Ice Hockey team at the 2017 Maccabiah Games, and competed for a gold medal on July 14 at Pais Arena Jerusalem in Israel.

The team lost to Canada 7-2 in the finals, but the score belies the close match. At the start of the third period, the score was 4-2, and a USA win was still within reach.

In the preliminary rounds, the Americans won three games and lost only to Canada, 3-2 in overtime.

Palisadian Dana Rivera wrote on her Facebook page: “USA got the silver, but what I got was a treasured memory. My three sons make me the proudest mama. Thank you Jake, Luke and Nicky.”

Parents Rick and Dana Rivera joined their sons Luke (left) Nick and Jake (right) on the ice after the championship game at the Maccabiah Games, where they represented the U.S.A.

Parents Rick and Dana Rivera joined their sons Luke (left) Nick and Jake (right) on the ice after the championship game at the Maccabiah Games, where they represented the U.S.A.

Greg Gardner, an assistant coach at Mercyhurst and a former star player at Niagara, coached a team that featured 20 NCAA players, including nine from Division I.

“We have a strong mix of players from California and from out East; it’s been an easy transition for all of us because of their NCAA backgrounds,” Gardner said in an online interview.

“They were well coached before training camp even began, which allowed for the template of our systems and game plan to be implemented quickly,” Gardner noted.

Jake Rivera, a left wing, played for SUNY Potsdam before joining the Knoxville Ice Bears in the Southern Professional Hockey minor league this past season. He scored 16 goals in 48 games and was credited with eight assists. In Israel, he served as captain for the U.S. team and was affectionately called “Big Daddy.”

Luke Rivera is a rising junior for SUNY Freedonia, where he plays forward, and youngest brother Nick is a left-handed forward at Minnesota State, where he’s a rising sophomore.

The three Riveras attended Marquez Ele- mentary, Paul Revere and Palisades High, before pursuing hockey at prep schools around the country. From early on, they were seen on the soccer fields and the Field of Dreams at the Palisades Recreation Center, where they were easily identified as natural athletes.

When the News interviewed the brothers in December 2014, all three were described as having an easy-going disposition and a driving passion for their sport.

Now they have something else in common: a silver medal from the 20th Mac- cabiah Games, where they were among the top performers for Team USA.

The Games are open to Jewish athletes from around the world, and all Israeli citizens, regardless of their religion, are allowed to compete. This year a record 10,000 athletes competed in 45 sports, making this the third- largest sporting competition in the world, after the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup.

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