Two young ice hockey fans who had to flee Ukraine following the Russian invasion have been given a chance to play their favourite sport again.
Serhii Tymoshenko, 14, and nine-year-old Danylo Tetiana both played ice hockey for teams in Ukraine, but they had to leave the country at the outbreak of war earlier this year.
Both have been housed on board the ship MS Ambition, which is berthed in the King George V dock on the River Clyde near Glasgow, and they were invited to play with the Glasgow Clan on Wednesday afternoon.
Serhii, who is originally from Kyiv, started skating and learning to play ice hockey when he was six, and he had played for a team called the Snow Leopards.
He said: “I used to play hockey every weekday and I really enjoyed it. Since I left Ukraine, I’ve missed being able to play hockey. And I’d really like to play for a team again.
“I didn’t think I’d get the chance to skate and play ice hockey when I came to Scotland, so I’d like to say thank-you to the Glasgow Clan for giving me the chance to practise with them.”
Danylo, from Kremenchuk in central Ukraine, trained and played ice hockey several times a week with his team, Kremenchuk 2.
He said: “I always want to play and take part in tournaments and I really like playing ice hockey.
“I was very excited about getting on the ice with the Clan players and I want to thank them for giving the chance to practise hockey again.”
Gareth Chalmers, managing director of Braehead Arena, which is home to the Glasgow Clan and close to where the Ambition is docked, said: “We can appreciate how hard it must be for Serhii and Danylo to have to leave their home, their wider family and friends because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Both the players and fans here at the Clan love ice hockey and I know the youngsters from Ukraine feel the same. It must be extra heart-breaking for them when they miss and can’t carry on taking part in their favourite sport.
“We decided to ask them along to the arena, get kitted out and play some hockey with our pro players.
“We hope we’ve brought a smile to their faces and they enjoyed their time on the ice with the Clan.”
Andy Boyle, project manager for MS Ambition, said: “We would like to extend a huge thanks to the Glasgow Clan and Braehead Arena for the unprecedented level of welcome and support to the Ukrainian guests on board MS Ambition.
“Seeing the genuine broad smiles and feeling them get behind their new local ice hockey team is invaluable to integration in the community.
“I have come along to several games myself and have seen the guests on board not just participating in, but starting chants of support for the team, and it is so heart-warming to see.”