An ice hockey team from Ukraine plays in the top division in the boys 16 league in Norway. So far Sdyshor won most of the matches against the best teams in Norway How this team from Kharkiv got here is of course about the war, leaders who made a decision and solidarity.
On the bus when the war started
The Ukrainian team stayed in the bus on the way to a tournament in Hungary on the night of 24 February 2022. They were in western Ukraine when the war started. A large-scale attack by Russia on all parts of Ukraine. One area that was hit very hard at the start was Kharkiv. The area with Ukraine’s second largest city is located on the Russian border. They are enormous devastation after extensive shelling of the city. It was clear early on that Kharkiv was a main target for Russia.
There were of course adult leaders and some parents on the bus. After all, these are responsible for around twenty boys who were 15 at the time. The decision was to drive to Poland, get the boys safe and stay there until the situation was resolved. The stay probably lasted longer than the managers and parents had intended.
Stavanger Oilers supported Sdyshor
The news about the Ukrainian team that was in Poland is picked up by Stavanger Oilers. This club started a campaign to collect money so that the team could live in Poland for a while. However, the stay was prolonged. Kharkiv city and the surrounding area were systematically exposed to Russian terror. Over 2,000 apartment blocks have been blown to pieces in Kharkiv city and large areas outside the city were under Russian control until this autumn, when Ukraine launched a rapid offensive and drove the Russians back.
In the meantime, Stavanger Oilers arranges accommodation for the team, managers and parents in the Stavanger area. The ice hockey team was allowed to train in one of the many ice rinks in the city. Alle fikk opphold i Norge og guttene begynte på norsk skole i høst. Sdyshor played a training match against Stavanger’s team this spring and won big. The team was registered for the best Norwegian league for U 16 teams. Some players from the team are also with Stavanger Oilers’ 18-year-old team.
The story is like being taken out of a dramatic movie with a happy ending. Actually, the story tells of international solidarity with Ukraine and of community within the same sport.
The hope is that the boys can return to a free Ukraine soon. In the meantime, they have a safe upbringing here, perhaps some boys’ lives were spared by short-sighted managers.