In Canada, Syrian refugee kids find belonging through hockey

In many ways, Yamen Bai is just like any other 11-year-old kid in Canada.

“I like to play hockey,” Yamen said in a phone interview, adding that his favorite part of the sport is scoring goals and winning games.

Unlike many kids in Canada, where hockey is a sport embedded in the country’s national identity, Yamen didn’t put on his first pair of skates until last year. He was born in Syria, and his family sought asylum in Iraq in 2016 to escape Syria’s civil war. A few years later, Yamen, his siblings and mother landed in the Canadian province of Newfoundland.


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