Tired but very proud – TVA Sports

“I can’t believe what happened. My dream was to come to Canada and it is coming true. It is very beautiful! “.

• Also read: Big smiles for the little Ukrainian hockey players when they look at the field

Junior Maksym Shtepa summed it up in a sentence that could be read through the eyes of the 16 other teammates from the Ukrainian team who stepped into Montreal’s airport to participate in the international hockey pee-wee de Québec tournament on Wednesday. .

“I feel very good. It is an honor to have the chance to represent my country. I am proud to be one of the best 17 players of our country,” added his teammate Maksym Kuharenko a few meters later.

Photo credit: QMI Photo Agency, Joël Lemay


There was something moving about the lines drawn by the long hours of flight, the sight of these young urinals disembarking at the exit of the airport and their eyes as they were greeted by the flashing of television cameras and the screeching of cameras.

“When I saw all the photographers around them, my eyes were in water. Francois Robert, one of the few members of the three-van convoy on Wednesday, aimed to pick them up in Montreal and then take them to Quebec.


Photo credit: QMI Photo Agency, Joël Lemay

Because on Wednesday I had the chance to accompany this caravan and meet the young people who probably started the best adventure of their lives on Wednesday.

On the way back, I was accompanied by Olivier Hubert-Benoit, who was responsible for all the logistics of the trip to Quebec for the Ukrainians, and six members of the team: Yehor Kosenko, Ivan Bilozerov, Mykyta Saskevich, Maksym Kuharenko, Yehor Sraier and Dmitry Korj. .


Image credit: Photo by Stevens LeBlanc


Inside the minibus, there was a festive mood. We can’t say exactly what they say to each other – our Ukrainian is pretty bad, even if we learn it. private they wanted to say hello, but they were having fun. Much pleasure.

However, just a few weeks ago, these young people were spread across Europe. Two of them, Schreier and Koj, took refuge in Ukraine in the middle of the war, and the other four took refuge with their families in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Germany and Romania. But on Wednesday, all that was secondary. On Wednesday, they were the Ukrainian Selection team, a hockey team that came here not only for a good story. On Wednesday, they were young teenagers who came to put a balm on the drama they were living in the hockey house.


Photo credit: QMI Photo Agency, Joël Lemay

“Sir, can you please tell us about hockey in Canada? Yehor Kosenko told me at the beginning of the trip, while Schreier was filming with a small camera.

Great question if you have one! At the end we talked about the Canadians – all with a big “oh! As they drove past the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, they saw the Habs sign.

The last time we saw them scream so loudly…was half an hour ago when they saw the donut box waiting for them in the car! During the discussion, we also realized how separate geopolitics and hockey are for these young hockey players, when one of them was asked who his favorite player was, he answered… Alex Ovechkin!

“Even though he is old, I love him,” he later sincerely justified himself.


Image credit: Photo by Stevens LeBlanc


We also obviously talked about the Remparts, who will see them play against the Moncton Wildcats on Saturday afternoon, but we also warned them: they are the team of the hour in Quebec, right now!

“Yes, we have seen our photos in several articles,” one of them proudly began.

It’s hard to know what awaits them, not just in Quebec, and whether they’re really aware of the enthusiasm they’ve generated over the past two weeks. One thing is for sure, they have ambitions!

“We have good players, good goalkeepers and good coaches. We play in AA, but I think we could at least play in AA Elites! says young Stepa.

Victories or not, for the first time in almost a year, war will no longer be a part of these teenagers’ daily lives.

Ukraine will begin the Peewee Tournament on February 11 at 11:45 a.m. against the Boston Bruins Junior team.

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