Since his mother Kateryna Levadna left Ukraine with him in July 2022 to make their way to safety in Swindon after their home city was bombed, 10 year-old Myron says he has dreamt of getting back on the ice.
In Ukraine, Myron played ice hockey for the national 'Dynamo Kharkiv team' and trained in Kharkiv city twice a day, five times a week.
He said he had always dreamed of playing professional ice hockey and, before the war, was even part of the youth Olympic reserve team.
When Russia declared war on Ukraine in February 2022, the situation worsened in Kateryna and Myron’s home city of Kharkiv. The local ice rink where Myron was training was hit by a Russian missile, and Kateryna said she knew it was time to get to a safe country.
She explains: “I was watching the news each day and watching out of my window as Russia bombed our city with cruise and ballistic missiles. There was so much destruction and loss of life, I was so scared for my family that when I heard about the UK Homes for Ukraine Scheme, I knew I had to try and find a host and escape to England.”
Kateryna posted on Facebook for a sponsor to host them and found one in Swindon - Bindoo Rattan and her partner, who live in West Swindon.
Bindoo said: “I had recently joined the Swindon Welcomes Ukraine Committee to do what I could to help and I found Kateryna and we got talking and I really wanted to offer her and Myron a safe place to stay. So we applied for VISA’s and got them over as quickly as we could. It’s been 9 months now, and they both feel like part of the family.”
As well as his training, Myron now attends Shaw Ridge Primary School in Swindon.
Through their manager, Charlotte, Myron now plays for the youth team of the Swindon Wildcats.
Charlotte said: “It’s been fantastic to have Myron join our youth team. Not only is he an incredibly talented player but he is getting on really well with the others and setting the new standard. He works incredibly hard too and that drive is what we aspire to install in all of our young players."
The Swindon Wildcats’ parents group have also helped Myron by raising funds to help with kit and travel to games.
Kateryna added: “We are so grateful for the opportunities we have in Swindon. Now children in Ukraine have little opportunity to go to school, play sports or lead a normal life.
"I am pleased to say Myron has adapted well, is socialising really well with his friends, playing sports and making good progress in school. He likes sports, chess, loves to play console games and also he loves maths."
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