At the Sandy Hill Arena, young hockey players were taking part in a conditioning camp as they gear up for a new season.
“Hockey is the best sport in the world, I like it so much,” said Volodymr Karpachov.
The 14-year-old is easy to spot on the ice with his blue and yellow laces, a tribute to his home country of Ukraine.
“I love my country (that’s why) I do this,” he said.
Playing in the NHL is a lifelong dream for the right-winger. However, his dream was nearly cut short after Russia invaded his home country. His family leaving everything they knew behind.
His mother Akseniia Karpachova says that with help from the Ukrainian Hockey Federation, Volodymr was able to train in Latvia for three months. In July, Akseniia and Volodymr were able to come to Canada.
“I received a call from a former player of mine and he told me about a mother and son from Ukraine,” said Jeff Hunt, who helped the family settle in Ottawa. “They had plans to go to Phoenix and ended up getting a Canadian visa and had nowhere to go, so we brought them here three weeks ago.”
Karpachov’s father had to stay behind in Ukraine and assist in the war efforts.
“I very miss my dad,” he said. “I call my dad every day.”
Now on Canadian ice, his NHL dream once again is renewed.
“Really impressed with his edge work and got real talent around the net,” said Kemptville 73s coach Brad Smyth. “Someone you want to keep an eye on the next few years.”
Karpachov is now in Ottawa, honing his skills and looking for a team to join here. In August he turns 15, and his sights are already set on the future to become the world’s best.
“I want to be better than Connor McDavid in the future. He’s so fast, he’s the best player in the world,” he said.