Sean Bérubé said he thought it was a joke when he was first asked to help assemble a team of Ukrainian preteen refugees, displaced by war and spread out across Europe, to play in a renowned Quebec City hockey tournament.
Bérubé, a businessman from the Quebec City region, was having a beer last March in Bucharest with Evgheniy Pysarenko, whom he played hockey with in Ukraine as a teenager.
The businessman — with the help of Pysarenko — had just travelled to Ukraine to help his former Ukrainian hockey coach and the coach’s family flee the Russian invasion. To show his gratitude, Bérubé said he owed Pysarenko a beer.
“Then he (Pysarenko) said, ‘No, I’ve got a different thing to ask you. I have a different favour.”