Ukraine wraps up Hockey Can’t Stop Tour with win in Winnipeg

‘Amazing, unforgettable, unbelievable, magical.’ Those are a few of the words Ukraine’s U25 National Hockey Team used to describe their reception in Winnipeg for their final game in Canada. Mike Albanese has that story.

By Mike Albanese

Ukraine’s National under-25 team finished their final western Canada game of the “Hockey Can’t Stop Tour” and Winnipeg made it feel like home.

“Not a lot of words… too many feelings and emotions about this,” said Gleb Krivoshapkin, forward for the Ukrainian U-25 team. “We had this kind of stuff, this kind of games, only in our dreams before.”

A sea of Ukrainian flags, and a chorus of chants all game long.

“I sing with them! I was singing with them! How did that feel? Amazing, unforgettable, unbelievable, magical.”

Mike Sudoma/City News
Ukraine’s U25 National Hockey Team fans celebrate after their team scores a 2nd period goal against the University of Manitoba Bisons Monday night at Canada Life Centre as part of the Hockey Can’t Stop Tour.
Jan 10, 2023

This four-game tour raised over $100,000 in ticket sales alone for humanitarian groups in Ukraine and for Ukrainians who now live in Canada.

“This is a historical event for our country, this is a historical event and win for our university national ice hockey team,” said Vadym Shakhraichuk, the head coach of Ukraine U25 National Team, with a translation from Oleksandra Slatvytska, executive director of the Ice Hockey Federation of Ukraine.


Team Ukraine won 5-1, defeating the University of Manitoba Bisons, but the significance of this game, was not lost on the losing squad.

“It was awesome you know? Getting to meet all them, they’re all nice guys. It’s definitely up there for my hockey career,” said Devon Skoleski, a forward for the Bisons.

Codey Behun, another Bisons forward saying, “Having all my family in the stands, playing in my hometown and especially being Ukrainian myself, it was a very special moment tonight.”

Mykhailo Simchuk scored twice in the win, but spent his time at the podium thanking Canadians for building these life-long memories.

“Our team, our staff, we really appreciate that people came to our game and support us.”

Krivoshapkin knows the game lifted spirits back home, the proof? A text from his dad post-game. “I open it up and saw, ‘yeah, good job I’m so proud and happy of you,’ and umm yeah, this is amazing emotions – I’m happy.”

Team Ukraine’s next stop is Lake Placid, for the Winter University Games.

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