Photo: CTV News
Dany Bereza poses with three Vancouver Giants on Friday.
A teenage hockey player who recently arrived in Vancouver after fleeing war-torn Ukraine got the star treatment from the Vancouver Giants on Friday.
Dany Bereza, 15, lived in Kyiv and played high-level hockey just a few weeks ago. But when Russia invaded Ukraine, Bereza’s family contacted a family they knew in Surrey, who offered Bereza accommodation, reported CTV News.
“My mom and I live in an area where there were a lot of bombs and a lot of military, so it was pretty dangerous,” Bereza told CTV News.
“kyiv was almost destroyed. Some towns around kyiv have been destroyed, only a few buildings remain. So it was quite difficult, but I’m finally here.
The hockey player recently arrived in Canada with little more than a backpack, and when the Vancouver Giants heard his story, they invited him to their Friday night game against the Everett Silvertips.
“We’re in the hockey business, but we’re also in the business of helping young men become good young citizens,” Vancouver Giants senior vice president Dale Saip told CTV News.
“It’s Canada. This is what we do. This is how we help. This is what we have become and this is the kind of country we are meant to be, so let’s get back to it.
Before the game, Bereza met with some of the Giants players, and Saip says they will give the youngster some new hockey gear so he can play the game in Canada.
“These children are struggling enough these days without making it difficult for them to flee from a war. It’s an easy help for us,” Saip said, adding that they will also work to find him a team to play with.
Bereza was delighted with the offer.
“It’s a fantastic experience. The WHL is a pretty high standard for junior play and I hope one day I will play there,” he said. “It’s a great arena, a great dressing room, great players and fantastic play.”
– with files from CTV Vancouver