Hockey Mom

Fatma, a single mother from Syria, builds a new life with her seven-year-old son, Majed, in Toronto. An intimate look at a brave woman learning to trust in herself
Available on CBC Gem

Hockey Mom

CBC Docs POV

When the Syrian war tore her life apart, Fatma bravely seized the opportunity to build a new life for herself on her own terms. Twenty days after her family arrived in Toronto from a refugee camp, Fatma fulfilled a years-long wish: she left her husband.

For two years, Fatma and her son, Majed, have been living with their sponsors in the Annex, a friendly neighbourhood in downtown Toronto.

On the surface, their new life in Canada seems fine. They are safe, healthy and their sponsors have become family. Majed is a sensitive, rambunctious seven-year-old who has started playing hockey. The sponsors’ financial and emotional support has enabled Fatma to pursue a new identity as a single woman and self-professed “hockey mom.” Confident, charming and eager to try new things, she has quickly learned English and hopes to find a job as a teacher.

But as Fatma thrives, Majed struggles. He hasn’t made friends and is routinely suspended from school for rowdy behaviour. Fatma doesn’t understand why.

She decides that a change of address might be the solution, even if it means separating from her sponsors’ watchful guidance. Determined to provide her son with everything he needs, she moves to an apartment in a suburb outside of the city.

But the move proves to make matters worse, and Fatma encounters obstacles every step of the way. Majed is diagnosed with ADHD but often refuses to take his medication; Fatma realizes she isn’t qualified to work as a teacher in Canada and needs to find a “survival job”; and Majed’s school suspensions continue, leaving her with no time to job hunt. When one of her sponsors’ Barb, tells her that their money will run out soon, and with no job prospects in sight, Fatma feels like a failure.

Fatma begins to lose sight of the reason she uprooted herself from the security of her sponsors and how far she has come since the day she showed up on their doorstep. In a moment of desperation, she turns to her ex-husband for help, but he pushes her away. With nowhere left to turn, Fatma digs deep to take ownership of her choices and finds the courage to face them.

Hockey Mom is an intimate, character-driven look at a Syrian family rebuilding their life from scratch in Canada. We catch Fatma and Majed in their darkest and proudest moments. Told completely from Fatma’s perspective, the documentary shows the messy consequences that emerge as she takes her next steps toward independence.

Stream Now on CBC Gem

Hockey Mom

CBC Docs POV