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Young Russians Fulfill Hockey Dream In North Texas

By Carol Cavazos, CBS 11 News
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A hockey stick and puck. (credit: Elsa/Getty Images)

A hockey stick and puck. (credit: Elsa/Getty Images)

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FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – A group of 9-year-old hockey players from Russia are in North Texas for the chance of a lifetime: playing in a U.S. hockey tournament. But it might not have happened if not for a Good Samaritan who helped out the boys when nobody else would.

Accomodations for the boys fell through at the last minute. That is when Jennifer Calyer came through with host homes – including her own – for all of them. Calyer works with babysitting website Seeking Sitters, and was able to make sure that everyone had help.

“This is something you may not get to do again,” said Calyer. “And my kids, I think living where they live, it’s important for them to learn about other cultures.”

The 15 boys arrived at DFW International Airport after midnight on Wednesday. They are from Salavat City, Russia – about 1,000 miles south of Moscow. Now, the boys are staying in Frisco – about 10,000 miles from their home.

The boys speak little English, and their host families speak little Russian. “Me and my mom use our iPhones to communicate with them, with an application that you get for free,” said Calyer’s son, Austin, who will also be playing in the tournament.

“I’m really thankful for whoever made that,” Calyer added.

But Calyer was able to find a human translator to help out as well. Igor Mityushin said, “They’re saying they love everything. They’re enjoying being here, and it’s great!”

More than anything, Calyer is hoping to send the kids back to Russia with love.

The Russian hockey players will participate in their first tournament match on Thursday at the Dr Pepper StarCenter in Valley Ranch. Other games are scheduled for the weekend. They are also going to be taking in the sights and sounds of North Texas on some tours this week. They are scheduled to leave on Tuesday.

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