It was the experience of a lifetime for a group of about 30 Ukrainian newcomers who attended the WHL Moose Jaw Warriors home game on Saturday, March 4 against the Prince Albert Raiders.
Christy Schweiger was one of the founding members of the Facebook page Ukraine help and exchange in Moose Jaw, which now has over 590 members. She helped organize the get-together at the Moose Jaw Events Centre.
"They don't have an opportunity to get together very often as a group," she said. "When I started talking to them about hockey and if they've ever been to a hockey game, a majority of them have not. Even in Ukraine they only have hockey rinks like this in the bigger centres, so most of them haven't even been on a pair of skates."
Schweiger notes there have been several new families who have settled in Moose Jaw within the last month.
"Between myself and the Warrior organization and other people in our community, we all made it happen. It was very nice to see everybody get together and meet each other."
She says future gatherings are being planned including a summer BBQ. There might even be an opportunity for some of the newcomers to try out a pair of skates before the snow melts.
"These families have been through so much tragedy and it really makes a difference. It makes our community look great as a whole to help them out and make them feel welcome," added Schweiger.