N.S. community helps 11-year-old African immigrant chase hockey dreams
CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV Atlantic’s Paul Hollingsworth
Published Monday, January 7, 2019 6:52PM EST
An 11-year-old boy who moved to Canada from Africa two years ago is living out his hockey dreams thanks to a sporting goods store and some supportive members of the community.
Tony Soumaro and his family moved to Lower Sackville, N.S., from Liberia in pursuit of a safer life. It wasn’t long before Soumaro embraced Canada’s pastime.
"The first time I came (to) school, I saw people playing (hockey) and my principal asked me if I wanted to try and I tried," he told CTV Atlantic.
Soumaro wanted to continue to play the game, but without equipment and the money to register with a team, he was out of luck. That was, until a local sporting goods store stepped in.
Over the holidays, Sportswheels in Lower Sackville, which donates a portion of their profits to youth who otherwise can’t afford the cost of playing sports, received several requests for donations to help Soumaro begin his hockey career.
"We're always trying to find ways to make profit where we can and then turn that over to kids who can't afford the sport,” said Sportswheels co-owner Jeff Mayhew. "We step in and provide equipment, registration fees, whatever the kid needs to be able to participate.”
Together with some local hockey families, Sportswheels was able to outfit Soumaro with a complete set of equipment and put him on a local house league team.
"I'm happy," Soumaro said. "It makes me feel like I'm at home."
Soumaro has already been in a handful of games and those who’ve seen him play say he’s improving each time he steps on the ice.