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Sunday, September 21, 2014

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First Israeli hockey stamp created by a Canadian

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TORONTO — Israelis can now slapshot a letter into the top corner of their local mailbox after affixing the country’s first hockey-themed postage stamp.

Irving Osterer

Commissioned by the Israel Ice Hockey Federation as part of a PR campaign during its annual World Jewish Ice Hockey Championships – played in July  at the Canada Center in Metulla – the limited edition stamp was created by Irving Osterer, a Canadian graphic artist and graphic design instructor at Ottawa’s Merivale High School.

Speaking to The CJN last week from  his office in Ottawa, Osterer – an Israeli hockey fan and member of the Ottawa chapter of Friends of Israeli Hockey – called the  project a “dream come true.”

“I’ve collected Israeli stamps since I was a kid. I’ve learned so much history and geography from them, [and] I’ve always been fascinated with the whole image-making process of stamps,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to contribute to the Jewish People, and this was my way to do it.”

Osterer said he became aware of the project from contacts he’s made through the Friends of Israeli Hockey earlier this year, and decided to step up and offer his design expertise and time to make the stamp.

The postage stamp features a photo  of defenceman Ron Soreanu, a veteran of Israel’s national hockey team and an Ottawa resident. (seen at right)

Osterer said he simply asked Soreanu if he’d pose for a picture while wearing the Israeli national team sweater – which he did enthusiastically – and that’s all it took to get the shoot done.

Osterer said he received several suggestions to facilitate the stamp’s production – done in Canada – from stamp dealer Isidore Baum, proprietor of Montreal’s Judaica Sales Limited. Meanwhile, Yael Kostas and Vered Shilsel at the Israel Philatelic Service supervised the production of the special stamps, the postmark die and the cancellation of the covers.

According to Osterer, the hockey postmark “will have an official catalogue number in the Israeli commemorative cancels catalogue, and will be listed on the Israel Philatelic Federation website. The finished covers are a wonderful souvenir of the event and are hand numbered from one to 500.”

For those who don’t know, apparently any major event can be considered for commemoration via a photo-stamp by both the Israel Postal Company and Canada Post.

“Anyone can do it,” Osterer said, adding all that’s necessary is the ability to come up with a winning design, meet the digital and stylistic specifications and front the approximately $1,500 that it would cost to produce the material for printing.

Osterer’s costs were lowered because he has the technical and artistic expertise to put the stamp’s imagery together and volunteered his time.

He said he received additional financial support from the Arnon Corporation in Ottawa. Arnon’s president, Arnie Vered, has a son and a nephew who both played for Team Canada “Red,” the gold medal winner in this year’s under-18 tournament.

Making the stamp “was a labour of love,” Osterer said. “It’s the realization of a dream.”

All proceeds from the sale of the stamp will go to supporting hockey programs in Israel.

For purchasing information, visit www.israelicehockey.com or write to: Israel Ice Hockey Federation, 2 St. Clair Ave. W., Suite 2000, Toronto, Ont., Canada, M4V1L5.

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