SASKATOON â€” Several people in Saskatchewan have officially dropped the puck on their new lives as Canadian citizens.
The group of 20 took the oath of citizenship Sunday at centre ice just before a game between the Western Hockey League’s Saskatoon Blades and Swift Current Broncos in Saskatoon.
The Blades, the Open Door Society and a local business, Ecologik, teamed up to host the event, which organizers say was the first of its kind in Canada.
The group recited their oath in front of about 4,200 fans, who gave them a standing ovation afterward.
The new Canadians also helped kick off the game by participating in a ceremonial puck drop.
Before the match, they received a crash course in hockey and later tried out their new skills.
“It’s wonderful and a great experience,” said Abolade Oluwabiyi, who is originally from Nigeria, but has been in Canada since 2012. “I love Saskatoon, but not the wintertime.”
“I think it’s pretty cool for it to be at the Blades stadium because that is such a Canadian thing,” said Jessica Jackson, who’s originally from New Zealand. “It’s our culture in New Zealand to travel. I came to Canada and just never left.”
Blades president Steve Hogle said it was a “beautiful” way to celebrate becoming Canadian.
“Thereâ€™s nothing more Canadian than hockey, or few things more Canadian than hockey, and to have them be part of our country at a hockey rink, at a hockey game, is just perfect.”
One family expressed their appreciation for Canada, saying they moved to Saskatoon one year ago from Syria and named their newborn son Justin after the prime minister.
“The first time he came on the plane toward Canada, it was the first time he felt like a human being,” Hasan Knisawi said through a translator. “Heâ€™s really appreciative of the people in Canada.”
The Blades won the game 6-3. (CKOM, CTV Saskatoon)
The Canadian Press