Many of our HEROS come to our program looking for a safe place where they feel they belong and are a part of a family. Suleyman, of our HEROS Surrey chapter, is a Syrian refugee. He fled his war torn country with his family to Turkey where he stayed for two years. With the tragic events occurring in Syria, Suleyman’s dad knew he had to keep his family safe “before in Syria it’s war. Bomb every day” and that they could not return to his home. After two years in Turkey Suleyman and his family moved to Canada – a place that they now call home.
Like many who move to a new country Suleyman was unfamiliar with the language and separated from all that he knew. He struggled to develop all of the things that make a place feel like home, “My family came from Syria. I was having trouble making friends as I didn’t speak English.” To help settle into their new home of Canada, Suelyman’s dad asked him to pick any sport to play and Suleyman knew right away, “I want to play hockey.”
Suleyman joined HEROS in 2017 and although he didn’t know how to skate, he stepped onto the ice fearlessly knowing that the coaches at HEROS were there for him, “when I first started in HEROS I didn’t know how to skate, the coaches they helped me.” HEROS has become a place where he learns to play the sport he enjoys, while having fun with his friends. “When I came to Surrey, it made me feel like my home. I can play with my friends and we play together and I happy so much.”
“It doesn’t matter where you come from, we all start in the same place.” Says Norm Flynn, the co-founder of HEROS. Regardless of where you start or where you come from, HEROS offers a haven where kids have a positive outlet to play hockey, harness friendships and create community, “we want to make sure that they feel like a part of a family. We want them to achieve. We want them to dream. We want them to know that they can be a success in the community.”
Suleyman and his family are happy with their new lives and optimistic about their future in Canada. At HEROS we are proud to welcome Suleyman and his family to Canada and have him as part of our program.
When asked what the program has meant to him Suleyman smiles and says “HEROS helped me make friends, it helped me feel Canadian.”