How Moe Hasham uses hockey to help kids feel more at home, more themselves –

asham is engaged in conversation in the cafeteria at Marc Garneau, when a student casually plops down beside him. Hasham realizes the boy wants to chat, but he’s trying to finish relaying his thoughts first. The teenager, Rezan, waits calmly for a solid 10 minutes.

Finally, when Hasham is free, he immediately asks the boy, “Did you get it?”

Rezan replies, in the most unassuming manner: “Yes.”

Hasham nearly jumps out of his seat in excitement. “You got it! That’s amazing!” he enthuses before offering a congratulatory handshake.

Rezan, who immigrated to Canada from Amuda, Syria, has just landed his first-ever job. It’s a co-op placement at a barbershop and represents a significant step toward his goal of cutting hair for a living. It’s clear that Rezan’s success resonates deeply with Hasham. “I’m just happy that I was able to be a part of his journey,” Hasham says afterward.

Rezan struggled with English when he first arrived in Toronto in 2017. As a result, he largely kept to himself. His older sister suggested they join Hockey 4 Youth together, in part because she felt that being involved in something of that nature would help Rezan open up. At first, coaches couldn’t even get him to respond to simple questions, but over several months, he finally began to feel more at ease. “Talking to a teacher is a lot different than talking to a person your age,” Rezan says. “You feel more comfortable talking to a teacher because they won’t judge. And they accept whatever you are going through. Whatever you do. And wherever they can help, they do.”

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