CSU men’s hockey Yuval Rosenthal blazes own path to Fort Collins

Ryan Loberger

When talking about the country of Israel the game of ice hockey isn’t the first thing that usually comes to mind. With only two full-time use rinks in the entire country, Israel isn’t known for producing hockey players.    

Colorado State men’s hockey forward Yuval Rosenthal got hooked on hockey at a young age and it’s taken him halfway across the world as a result.

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“I started playing hockey when I was three,” Rosenthal said. “I remember watching a commercial on one of the American channels we got at the time, and it had hockey in it. I turned to my dad and knew this was what I wanted to do.”

With the closest ice rink three hours away, Rosenthal would get his start playing inline hockey before making the transition to ice hockey as a teenager.

“I played in an inline hockey league until the age of 13,” Rosenthal said. “At the time there was only one ice rink in the country, so we would occasionally make the trip up north, right on the border with Lebanon.”

After making the switch to ice hockey and joining the Israeli pro league as a teenager, Rosenthal would discover that he would have to come to North America to further his development as a hockey player.

“It was always a dream of mine to play hockey in Canada,” Rosenthal said. “I looked into a number of prep schools to study, play hockey and I wasn’t moving with my entire family.”

Upon receiving an offer to play at Banff Hockey Academy in Alberta, Rosenthal would make the journey from Israel to North America as a sophomore in high school. Living without his family, Rosenthal would live in a community home with his teammates, some of whom, were in a similar situation.

“We had a residence house for the team,” Rosenthal said. “It was about 30 to 35 people all living in the same house. I had a roommate from Japan and I still keep in contact with some of the guys from Austria, Latvia, the U.S. and Canada.”

After finishing school and playing junior hockey in Canada, Rosenthal would find an unlikely home in CSU when a former teammate at Banff mentioned the university.

Rosenthal would find his fit with the Ram’s on the ice, and has been a part of the program for all four years. On top of playing collegiate hockey and being a double-major Rosenthal is also the ASCSU Director of Community Affairs.

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Speaker Pro Tempore Yuval Rosenthal speaks to the ASCSU Senate on October 4, 2017 about remaining unbiased during the impeachment process and on the impeachment committee. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

“(CSU) wasn’t even on my radar, I was trying to decide on a school, just checking out different spots and I mentioned to one of my friends, how about I come to check out Colorado,” Rosenthal said. “I swear to you the second we got into Fort Collins I knew this is where I want to go to school.”

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Impressed by the campus and the people surrounding it Rosenthal knew CSU was going to be home, after meeting the team and the staff Rosenthal was sold on Fort Collins.

“(They were) some of the most welcoming people I’ve ever meet in my life,” Rosenthal said. “The coach at the time, Eric Sunness, he was also Jewish so we bonded over that. He’s also a criminal defense attorney which is something that I came to CSU with the intention of pursuing so that also helped persuade me.”

Now a senior, Rosenthal is a double major in economics and political science and is unsure of his future career. As an Israeli citizen, military service is required upon your 18th birthday, Rosenthal has already served time between semesters but could be required for an extended time upon graduation.

“Right now I’d like to continue my education and go to law school, but if I’m required to go back and serve more time that’s what I’ll do,” Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal will be one of the seniors graduating this year. The Rams play in their last home game of the season, battling the University of Colorado, Boulder on senior night Feb. 16 at Edora Pool Ice Center at 7:15 p.m.

Ryan Loberger can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @LobergerRyan.