2019 hcf newcomers hitmen

A Canadian welcome

A group of new Canadians got their first taste of Canada’s game thanks to the Hockey Canada Foundation and the Calgary Centre for Newcomers

Lee Boyadjian
March 6, 2019

There are few experiences as stereotypically Canadian as attending a hockey game on a cold winter night, which made for a perfect introduction to the country for a group from the Calgary Centre for Newcomers.

About 20 recent arrivals to Canada packed a suite at the Scotiabank Saddledome to watch the host Calgary Hitmen take on the Kootenay Ice in Western Hockey League action on Jan. 27, hosted by the Hockey Canada Foundation.

While seeing ice indoors (or at all) was a first for many of them, there was one moment in particular – before the game even began – which captured the attention of siblings Destiny and Faith Fomekung.

“I was so impressed about the anthem and it was so amazing,” said 13-year-old Destiny.

Destiny and Faith, 18, arrived in Canada from Cameroon six months ago. They joined their mother, who has been in the country for five years, working toward a better future for the family. Faith hopes to work with children and is planning to train as a pediatrician or midwife.

“[The] educational system here is very interesting,” she said. “The teachers are very welcoming, [and so are] the people around you. You find different categories of people around you and they’re very friendly with you.”

Abdul Janahli is also excited about the educational opportunities in Calgary. Along with his younger sister and brother, Abdul fled Syria in December, three years into a civil engineering degree. He plans to complete the degree through courses he is taking at Mount Royal University.

He was impressed by the speed and teamwork of the Hitmen, who scored twice in the first period and twice in the second to earn a 4-1 win over the Ice.

“I liked the match and the players and how they passed and they played as well as they can,” he said. “The [skating] was very fast. Both team[s] were very good but the Hitmen were better.”

Lina Janahli says she hopes to watch more hockey once the family has finished reconnecting after five years apart. The Janahli children lost their father in the Syrian war while their mother came to Canada ahead of the children.

“It was amazing and there was lots of crying,” Lina says of the moment they saw their mother again.

Thanks to assistance from the Centre for Newcomers, which provides training programs and collaborative support services for immigrants to promote full integration, cultural diversity, community participation and citizenship, the Fomekung and Janahli families are embracing their new start in Calgary, despite the cold.

“Everything about Canada is so perfect, I really love it,” said Destiny. “Very different, the climate change and the government is so calm and perfect.”

“Maybe I will make an amazing future, graduate from high school and go to university,” said Lina.

As a registered charity, the Hockey Canada Foundation depends on financial support. To help the Foundation continue to strengthen the bond between Canadians and hockey through opportunities that enable, engage and educate players, coaches, fans and supporters of this game that we love, you may donate online at HockeyCanada.ca/Foundation.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
[email protected]


Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-777-4567
Mobile: 905-906-5327
[email protected]



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