The Ukrainian women’s junior softball team has escaped their war-torn country to play the game they love at the Canada Cup.
The Canada Cup is an annual international softball tournament that is taking place this week in softball city, Surrey.
However, the Ukrainian team’s journey to Canada wasn’t as easy as hopping on a plane. The funds the team originally had raised for travel were reallocated to the war effort.
After hearing this, tournament organizers and the people of B.C. stepped up, raising $60,000 through funding and a GoFundMe campaign.
“When we learned that the U19 junior national team from Ukraine desperately wanted to participate in the Canada Cup, but didn’t have the resources to do so, we saw it as our duty to simply do the right thing,” says event chair Greg Timm.
Head coach of the U19 team, Vasyl Kysil, says they are thrilled to be in Canada competing in the tournament.
“We have had to overcome some major obstacles, but we have remained committed to fielding an elite fastpitch team that prides itself in representing our great country,” says Kysil.
The team arrived earlier this week and for players like Tetiana Zhuk, it’s been very emotional.
“When we came out onto the field everyone was clapping and we were crying, it’s so amazing,” says Zhuk. “I would like to say to all Canadians who are supporting Ukraine, thank you so so much.”
The team currently sits sixth in their pool with one win and four losses. Playoffs begin Friday.
You can see the full schedule on the Canada Cup website.