'As Canadian as everyone else': Surrey Muslim School tries out road hockey

From kindergarten to Grade 7, students tested out their stick-handling skills during a road-hockey tournament.

From kindergarten to Grade 7, students tested out their stick handling skills

Grade 7 student Meriem Sibachir races for the ball against her teacher. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

Students at the Surrey Muslim School took a break from their regular curriculum on Wednesday for a lesson on Canada's national game. 

"A lot of our kids are new immigrants. They're from mostly desert countries, they are not familiar with hockey very much, and yet they are as Canadian as everyone else," said Ali Roy, the school's principal.

"So, we thought we would introduce them to Canada's love for hockey."

Roy organized the school's first ever road hockey tournament to help the students fit in with others once they graduate from the school, since there is no Muslim high school and they will most likely have to attend a public high school.

"It's important to integrate them into Canada and for other people to see the girls in hijab playing hockey," he said. 

Despite the rain, all 230 students from kindergarten to Grade 7 participated in the games held in the vacant parking lot behind the school. 

Grade 7 student Meriem Sibachir plays road hockey against a teacher during the Surrey Muslim School's first tournament. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)

For the most part, the students enjoyed Canada's national sport. 

"What I like most about hockey is that you can run, you can make goals. I don't like when you get hurt or injured," said nine-year-old Eliya Khan. 

The students didn't care much for the conversation about hijab, nor did they feel "un-Canadian." They were more interested in the final score.

"We won and we did not expect that, so that was really cool," said Grade 7 student Ayra Ali. 

The Grade 7 girls beat the boys in the semifinals and ended up winning the championship after facing off against the teachers in the final round. 

Grade 7 student Angela Mahmoud has her game face on during a face-off. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)
Students cheer on the last game of the tournament as the Grade 7 girls play against the teachers. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)
Arianna Ali, 9, steps in as goalie during the hockey tournament. Ali's favourite thing about hockey is that it can be played on or off the ice. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)
Grade 7 student Rama Abed Al Razaq looks to her classmate during the final game of the tournament. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)
Angela Mahmoud, 12, said her Grade 7 team "beat the teacher pretty badly." (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)
Grade 7 student Ayra Ali puts up her hand to signal a pass from her teammates right before she scored the winning goal. (Tina Lovgreen/CBC)