Raising their voices for Ukraine

Hoosli Ukrainian Male Chorus starts Jets game off on emotional note


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They sang their hearts out for Ukraine.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 01/03/2022 (457 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

They sang their hearts out for Ukraine.

Members of the Hoosli Ukrainian Male Chorus are no strangers to singing the national anthem at Jets games, but their latest performance — Tuesday’s contest against the Montreal Canadiens — was without question, the most emotional and meaningful of all of their trips to the downtown rink.

“In terms of meaningful performances for me, this is at the top of the list,” said Markian McColl, a 32-year-old who has been a member of Hoosli for nearly a decade.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS The Hoosli Ukrainian Male Chorus sang the Ukraine and Canadian national anthems before Tuesday's Winnipeg Jets game. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

It was the eighth time the group from Prosvita Hall on Pritchard Avenue sang in front of Jets faithful, but this time, they opened with the Ukrainian national anthem, which starts with the proclamation: “Ukraine’s glory has not yet died, nor her freedom.”

The country’s colours of blue and yellow were projected onto the ice and at least a dozen Ukrainian flags were held up with pride by fans in the stands. Before they could get into O Canada, the group received one of the longest and loudest standing ovations to have ever taken place at the home of the Jets.

“Seeing people out there in blue and yellow, having the Canada Life Centre put the blue and yellow on the ice and allow us to sing our national anthem in a time of crisis, I started tearing up out there. It means a lot to me and I know it means a lot to the guys and the Ukrainian community as well to be heard and supported. It was just a phenomenal feeling,” McColl said.

True North reached out to Hoosli last week about performing at the arena. Hoosli accepted, but asked if they could also sing the Ukrainian anthem as a way to show support to Ukraine, which was invaded by Russia last week. True North gave them the stamp of approval.

“I was definitely a little bit nervous. Not necessarily in regards to messing anything up, but just the potential impact and the magnitude of something like this, singing the Ukrainian national anthem live at an NHL game,” McColl said. “Having the audience singing along, crying, cheering, it was overwhelming.”

Moments before Hoosli began to sing, True North delivered a message over the public address system: “During this devastating time of unrest, True North and the Winnipeg Jets express heartfelt support for Ukraine and for the more than 180,000 Ukrainian Canadians living in Manitoba. We express our sadness for the loss, devastation and the continued threat to Ukraine. We join the world in its calls for peace.”

That message and the response from everyone in the building on Tuesday night means the world not only to Hoosli, but to everyone they know who has been affected by the war.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Fans showed their support for Ukraine at Tuesday's Winnipeg Jets game. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

“Many of us have family and friends in Ukraine that we’ve been in touch with over the last number of days,” said Hoosli chairman Christopher Sklepowich.

“The message we get from them is that they hear us, they feed off of our support and something on this grand of a scale, that we feel will be seen around the world, is just our message amplified so that the people of Ukraine know that Canada is behind them.”


Twitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of...


Updated on Tuesday, March 1, 2022 9:43 PM CST: adds attribution

Updated on Tuesday, March 1, 2022 10:12 PM CST: Adds line from Ukrainian national anthem

Updated on Tuesday, March 1, 2022 10:30 PM CST: Adds sidebar with Ukrainian national anthem lyrics

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