Hockey team of preteen Ukrainian refugees arrives in Quebec City for tourney


“Once they return to their nation or wherever they’re coming from, they are going to say, ‘there have been 15,000 individuals cheering, carrying white shirts for peace.’ ”

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A crew of preteen Ukrainian refugees which have been scattered throughout Europe by battle arrived Wednesday in Quebec Metropolis, the place they’ll get the prospect to compete in a famend hockey match.

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The crew of 11- and 12-year-olds landed in Montreal earlier than being bused to the provincial capital forward of subsequent week’s Quebec Worldwide Peewee Hockey Event, which has been attended prior to now by all-time greats akin to Wayne Gretzky and Man Lafleur.

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The bleary-eyed crew arrived on the Videotron Centre in Quebec Metropolis, the place they had been greeted by the native households who will host them throughout their keep. The crew, who wore hats and jackets bearing the Ukrainian flag, had an opportunity to take a look at the ice, the place 1000’s of persons are anticipated to collect within the stands to observe them play.

Coach Evgheniy Pysarenko described the crew’s presence in Quebec Metropolis as “virtually a miracle.”

“Earlier than it was mission unattainable, now it’s miracle on ice,” he stated.

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Pysarenko instructed reporters on the hockey enviornment that will probably be onerous for gamers to neglect the battle in Ukraine, the place some have fathers which can be on the entrance strains preventing the Russian invasion.

However he hopes they’ll depart the match with lifelong recollections and the assumption that “something is feasible.”

The crew, he added, are “messengers of hope,” and symbols of “spirit, power and solidarity.”

Twelve-year-old Maksym Kukharenko, whose hometown is Kyiv, has been dwelling within the Czech Republic. He stated the journey to Canada was “very lengthy,” however that he’s excited to play.

“It’s very cool that I’m going to this nation and this metropolis,” he stated.

His teammate, additionally named Maksym, stated the match is “an opportunity for us to point out ourselves to different groups in America, in Canada.”

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The crew’s unbelievable journey comes after months of effort by Pysarenko and a Quebec Metropolis businessman, who needed to type out visas and prepare journey for gamers who had been displaced by battle and dwelling in nations throughout Europe.

At the least one boy is initially from Kherson, which spent months below Russian occupation, and others are from Odesa, which has been bombed.

The Ukrainian crew may have a while to settle in earlier than they’re scheduled to take to the ice on the Videotron Centre on Feb. 11 to play the Junior Bruins from Massachusetts.

Patrick Dom, the overall supervisor of the match, stated the previous couple of months have been a “roller-coaster of feelings,” crammed with doubts about whether or not the crew would make it.

Given what they’ve been by way of, Dom stated he has few expectations for a way they’ll carry out on the ice. However on this case, the ultimate rating isn’t the purpose.

“Once they return to their nation or wherever they’re coming from, they are going to say, ‘there have been 15,000 individuals cheering, carrying white shirts for peace’ ” he stated.

“They’ll bear in mind this for the remainder of their lives. That’s what we would like.”

The match runs Feb. 8-19.

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