Extraordinary People

Dreams CAN come true: Refugee boy plays ice-hockey after neighbours gift him entire kit

Canadian residents helped little Yaman join local league

People are often told about the power of community and seeing it in action proves what a force it is, as this wonderful tale has left us all choked up.

It all began when Yaman, a young refugee boy, fled Syria for a new life in Canada.

While his family’s arrival in North America offered hope, sadly Yaman’s father was left behind meaning his mother was left to raise him and his three brothers alone.

Struggling to pay the bills, when little Yaman fell in love with the country’s beloved ice-hockey game and hoped to play with his third-grade peers, the kits were too expensive for mum Fatima.

[Credit: Muhammad Lila / Twitter]

However, their fellow neighbours swooped in and came to the rescue.

Sharing the heart-warming story on Twitter, local correspondent Muhammad Lila caught wind of what happened and revealed the events online.

Muhammed wrote: “When refugees come to Canada, it’s usually a happy time.  Your plane touches down to a new life and new beginnings.  When Yamen’s family arrived, it was bittersweet. Why? Because their father never made it out of Syria. Think about what that does to a family.

“Imagine Yaman’s mother, Fatima. You survive a war, then move halfway around the world to raise your four kids in a foreign land – all on your own – without even knowing the language or if your husband is even still alive. Talk about strength.”

[Credit: Muhammad Lila / Twitter]

He continued: “The family of five settled in a province called Newfoundland. It’s filled with cold winters but warm hearts. Neighbours welcomed the family with open arms, helping them with furniture, school, and a place to live.

“In Yaman’s class, there are a bunch of kids who play hockey. Yaman wanted to play, but he didn’t know how… Remember how it felt to be left out when you were a kid?”

He went onto explain how one of Yaman’s classmates told his dad and the situation, before word started to spread in the community about the Syrian boy who’d never played hockey.

This hockey dad, named Michael Doyle, then took it upon himself to find a pair of his child’s old skates and took Yaman to the local skating rink.

Needless to say, Yaman took to the ice like a duck to water and after the trip, Michael hit social media to see if anyone else could donate equipment to help Yaman into the local league.

On that same day, by the time Michael arrived home, he was elated to discover sticks, skates, and bags waiting for him outside his front door.

In addition to this, when local hockey store Sports Craft found out, they offered to give Yaman all brand new equipment as people flocked to Twitter asking if they could pay.

The next day after school, Yaman got the surprise of his life as Michael knocked on his door, told him to get dressed, and whisked him off to the hockey store.

Beaming from ear to ear, Yaman selected his new hockey gear and was handed the donated cash by Michael so that he could feel the excitement of paying himself at the checkout.

[Credit: Muhammad Lila / Twitter]

Tweeting about the beautiful spirit of community, Muhammed continued: “In Canada, hockey can be more than a sport. At its best, it can unite us. You’ll see Canadians, from all backgrounds, playing it everywhere: streets, hallways, frozen ponds, you name it.

“Hell, as kids, we played until it got so dark outside we couldn’t see the puck anymore.

“When you’re an immigrant, the easiest thing in the world is to feel left out. Your food is different. Your accent is different. Maybe your clothes too. When your parents are struggling to pay the rent, hockey is a laughably impossible luxury.”

He added: “When you’re a kid, you don’t care about any of that. All you want is to want to fit in. And it hurts like hell when you don’t… And that’s exactly why this was so awesome.”

Kind-hearted residents have already offered to pay for Yaman’s next kit when he grows out of his current one, to keep his dreams alive of playing professionally one day.  

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