Nfld. & Labrador

Sheshatshiu grandfather walks 330 km to raise money for grandson's tuition

A devoted grandfather has started a 330-kilometre walk across parts of Labrador to raise enough money for his grandson to go to a private boarding school in Ontario. 

Sebastian Benuen will walk from Churchill Falls to Sheshatshiu with his grandson

Aries Benuen and Sebastian Benuen are walking 330 kilometres across parts of Labrador to raise money for Aries' tuition. (Germaine Benuen/Facebook)

A devoted grandfather started a 330-kilometre walk across parts of Labrador on Saturday to raise enough money for his grandson to go to a private boarding school in Ontario. 

Sebastian Benuen will walk from Churchill Falls all the way to his hometown of Sheshatshiu with his grandson, Aries, by his side in an attempt to raise about $40,000 to send Aries to the Canadian International Hockey Academy. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Benuen hasn't been able to work for the past six months, but said he would do whatever it takes to further his grandson's hockey and academic career.  

I don't want him to miss out. I am so proud of him.- Sebastian Benuen

"I told my grandson Aries, I will be there for you no matter what," said 56-year-old Benuen.

Benuen said Aries's father died by suicide when Aries was a little more than a year old, and he's promised the 14-year-old the best life possible.

"After six years old, Aries started hockey and I have been supporting him ever since."

A group of people joined the Benuens on Saturday morning in Churchill Falls as they started their 330-kilometre walk. (Submitted by Germaine Benuen)

Aries was accepted to the prestigious Canadian International Hockey Academy last year, but had to come back to Labrador in March as the pandemic ramped up. 

Training at the school puts Aries another step closer to reaching his goal of someday playing in the NHL. 

"His experience last year was very good to start, but when they told him the school was going to be shut down he was disappointed, and I was disappointed, " said Benuen. "He loves it."

10 year old Sheshatshiu defenseman raising eyebrows in Hockey World

5 years ago
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10 year old Aries Benuen is an all-star AAA hockey player from Sheshatshiu. He was invited to play in tournaments in Quebec and Ontario last year and will be back playing at that level next May. We caught up with him and his grandfather Sebastian Benuen at a game he was playing in the Lake Melville xtreme hockey league. He hopes one day to play for the Washington Capitals. 0:58

If Benuen is able to afford tuition, Aries would go back in the beginning of October.

Aries has also been selected to represent Canada in the World U-15 Championships in Europe in 2021.

Benuen said he plans to walk about 50 kilometres a day and hopes to finish the walk in about eight days.

He said he has been training for a few months and is planning his stops, and encourages anyone to walk parts of the journey with him and his grandson. 

Sebastian Benuen said he and his grandson have never missed a game. (Germaine Benuen/Facebook)

"I am a little bit nervous and at the same time I am not. I have been with Aries since he was a year and a half old. He's truly my best friend," he said.

"I don't want him to miss out. I am so proud of him."

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Meg Roberts is a video journalist with CBC Newfoundland and Labrador, based in St. John's. Email her at meg.roberts@cbc.ca.

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