The Ukrainian ice hockey staff meets 4 prairie varsity groups

That huskies from the University of Saskatchewan, dinosaur from the University of Calgary, Golden Bears from the University of Alberta and the University of Manitoba Bisons will host the Ukraine national ice hockey team in late December and early January.

The games were organized to give players a chance to prepare for the upcoming Winter World University Games while raising funds for Ukrainian refugees and war-torn communities back home, says the Western Division of Canadian college hockey.

Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Canada/Ukraine Foundation, which will distribute most of the funds to them Save the Ukrainian ice hockey dreama foundation of the Ukrainian Ice Hockey Federation to enable the continuity of player development even in times of war.

Savva Serdiuk.

Savva Serdiuk, goaltender of the Ukraine U25 ice hockey team, hopes he can help rebuild the destroyed arenas and enable his country’s young players to return to the game.

Photo: Radio Canada

Playing ice hockey in a war context

In Ukraine, most men between the ages of 18 and 60 are not allowed to leave the country without special permission.

The Canada tour gives them a rare opportunity to focus on ice hockey without the constant threat of conflict.

Savva Serdiuk is the goalkeeper of the Ukrainian team. For him, playing hockey in Ukraine in a context of war means a challenge.

My team trains almost every day without water and sometimes without electricity. So it’s quite difficult for ushe says.

“It’s kind of an escape for me because hockey is probably one of the best things in my life. Coming to training every morning makes me feel safe.” »

A quote from Savva Serdiuk, goalkeeper of Ukraine U25 ice hockey team.

Since the beginning of the war, the arenas and ice rinks in several cities in the country, such as Donetsk, Cherson and Mariupol, have been inaccessible or have been completely destroyed.

Savva Serdiuk says he’s motivated to play against Canadian teams and will try to keep his goals clean.

U25 hockey player from Ukraine.

When war broke out in Ukraine, some ice hockey pros had to trade their stick for a gun.

Photo: Ukrainian Ice Hockey Federation

It’s not easy to assemble and prepare a team for international competition in the middle of war, but the Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine wants to show the world that the country is tough and strong.

For the head coach of the Ukrainian team, Vadym Shakhraychuk, these encounters are a historic moment. My players have never played against Canadian teamshe says.

Aleksandra Slatvytska.

The General Manager of the Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine, Aleksandra Slatvytska, hopes to welcome the Canadian ice hockey teams to Kyiv, Ukraine very soon after the end of the war and the reconstruction of the arenas.

Photo: Radio Canada

For the General Director of the Ukrainian Ice Hockey Federation, Aleksandra Slatvytskathe conflict should not slow down the practice of ice hockey in his country.

Children don’t understand war. To protect their mental health, it was very important to give them the opportunity to continue playing ice hockey.She says.

Brandin Côte is the head coach of the huskies from the University of Saskatchewan, he also believes these games will be a learning opportunity for the players on the Canadian teams.

When the Ukrainian team is here, we have the opportunity to talk to their players to better understand what they’ve been through or what they’re going through on a family or sport level. It will be a very positive experience for our playershe believes.

Same story for the head coach of the Golden Bears from the University of Alberta, Ian Herberwho intends to learn from this meeting with the Ukrainian team.

Coming to the rink, I realize how fortunate we are every day to have electricity, water, a safe environment, and how important those little things we take for granted arehe said.

After their training in Canada, the Ukrainian team will take part in the World University Games, which will take place from 12th to 18th June Lake Placidin the state of new York in the USA.

Schedule of meetings:

University of Saskatchewan: Friday, December 30, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. MT (Merlis Belsher Place)

University of Calgary: Monday, January 2, 2023 7:00 p.m. MT (Father David Bauer Arena)

University of Alberta: Tuesday, January 3, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. MT (Clare Drake Arena)

University of Manitoba: Monday, January 9, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. CT (Canada Life Center)

With information from Karel HOUDE-HEBERT

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