Peter Bondra Participates in Hockey Stick Menorah Lighting

Posted December 2, 2018

(Peter Bondra and Daniel Gittleson in front of the Menorah. Photos by Barbara Banks)

While the Washington Capitals hosted the Anaheim Ducks for a rare Sunday matinee, a large crowd formed at Fair Hill Shopping Center in Olney, Md. to celebrate their community and to light the first candle of the menorah for the first night of Hanukkah.

Each year, the Chabad synagogue in Olney has a tradition of building a large themed menorah and lighting it beside a community Christmas tree in the bustling suburban shopping center. This year’s unique menorah, conceived by Daniel Gittleson, is made of hockey sticks to commemorate the Washington Capitals winning the Stanley Cup.  Gittleson formed a group of willing accomplices to help him build the menorah.  Julian Goldman (architect), Dan Abramson (set designer) and Don Light (mechanic) all pitched in to fabricate the design in Abramson’s garage workshop. The Washington Capitals organization was eager to get on board with the project by donating 35 player-used hockey sticks and 50 pucks to help Chabad build the menorah.

“Once we got started, the menorah only took about 6 hours to make, “ said Abramson.  “It has two parts and actually folds up for easy storage.”

Fans were thrilled when former Capitals player Peter Bondra and mascot Slapshot (the giant inflatable Slapshot – the real one was at the Caps game) joined Chabad to light the first candle.

“Community, it’s all about community,” said Bondra as he prepared to meet and greet hundreds of fans.  “Anytime you have people that go to great lengths like this to celebrate the Caps, we want to be here to meet them and thank them.”

He posed for a picture with Gittleson and remarked about the menorah.

“It is fantastic.  I can’t believe they had the idea to make it all out hockey sticks. Every detail is perfect.”

It was a joyous occasion as folks gathered and children sang to celebrate Hanukkah and cheer on the Stanley Cup Champs, yet pausing in solemn remembrance of those lives tragically lost at the Tree of Life Synagogue in October.

Read more about this on The Washington Post’s site.

via Dan Abramson.