Morein, Mendy : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Morein, Mendy

Mendel Morein


Country Represented:

Years Competed:

Olympic Info:
Morein and five other members of the Montreal YMHA (Young Men's Hebrew Association) composed half of Canada's basketball team at the 1948 London Olympics (the other half was from the University of British Columbia). Upon the team's arrival in London, they stayed in Oxford, but found out there was no gymnasium in which to practice. On top of that, according to teammate Ben Lands, they were brought a European ball, which was more like a football than a North American basketball. With only a few weeks to train, Lands explained, the Canadian team was probably "the most ill-prepared team" at the Olympics.

Despite the circumstances, Canada played fairly well in the Olympics. They began the tournament with two victories, over Italy (53-37) and Great Britain (44-24). They then lost two straight to Hungary (in a close game by a score of 37-36) and Brazil (57-35) before closing the preliminary round by defeating Uruguay 52-50. With a record of 3-2, Canada was tied for second place in their preliminary group with Uruguay and Hungary, but Uruguay advanced to the final group based on their victories over both Canada and Hungary (Brazil went undefeated in the preliminary stage and won the group -- only the top two teams advanced to the final group).

Despite their disappointment at not advancing to the final group, the Canadian team closed out the Olympic Games on a high note. In the 'consolation' grouping to determine the final standings, Canada routed Iran 81-25 and then defeated Belgium (45-40) and Peru (49-43) to finish in ninth place. Their final record was 8-2.

While in London, the 'Y' players attended a luncheon at the Maccabi House that honored all the Jewish athletes at the Olympic Games. The other members of the Canadian basketball team were Ben Lands, Sol Tolchinsky, Sydney Strulovich, Doodie Bloomfield, and Murray Waxman. The head coach at the Y, Moe Abramowitz, was an assistant coach on the Olympic team.

Career Highlights:
At the 'Y,' Morein and a group of Jewish ballplayers became one of the best teams in all of Canada, winning the Eastern Canada championship in 1948. In the Canadian finals, they lost a best of five series to the Vancouver Clover Leafs, but avenged their loss by beating the Clover Leafs later in the year at the Olympic Trials. They captured one half of the bracket while the University of British Columbia won the other half and the Canadian Olympic team was composed of players from both squads.

Morein and his 'Y' teammates continued their success into the 1950s, winning the Canadian championship in 1950, while competing at the Maccabiah Games that same year. Both Morein and Ben Lands also played on the basketball team at the 1953 Maccabiah Games (Lands as player-coach).

Birth and Death Dates:

Montreal, Canada

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(thank you to Sol Tolchinsky and Ben Lands for providing information on themselves and the Montreal YMHA 'Blues' team to the web site)