WATCH: LaSalle PeeWee team turn coaches for Syrian children

 

 

Not only was the Spring-like weather on display Sunday, so was the true spirit of Canada.

The LaSalle Peewee A Jaguars gathered on the outdoor ice at Hayward Park with a group of 25 Syrian children, teaching them how to skate and giving them a first real taste of Canada's favourite sport, hockey.

The event was organized by the team and the Canadian Alliance for Syrian Aid.

"I'm not surprised a lot of people came out to support us," assistant coach Mike Bertoldi told CTV Montreal. "A lot of local businesses came out to support us. The parents are helping. I'm really impressed and happy."

Bertoldi and team manager Angelo Falbo came up with the idea after the recent attack on a Quebec City mosque. Falbo said his own children were asking questions about refugees, and he wanted to show them no matter what we believe in, deep down we are all the same.

"We decided, let's get our kids, let's get them involved and make a difference and integrate these Syrian kids with our kids and let our kids know what they're going through" Falbo said.

Two of the children on the ice Sunday were Sanaa Alkhouri's five and seven-year-old sons. The family came to Canada 14 months ago and says they are grateful for their new country and a chance to live in peace.

"We were happy but we have so many feelings, it's hard. We left our family there, they left their grandparents and here, without any relatives, it's very hard for the kids in the beginning. But now it's very good" she said. 

"We like this game but didn't know how to get in the right way, how to go with teams, but this occasion it's great, really. The kids are having a very good time."

Transportation to the rink, along with food, drinks, cotton candy and a sugar shack were provided thanks to a fundraising campaign that brought in $3,500.

Equipment was made available through the Montreal Canadien's Bleu, Blanc, Rouge Foundation.