November 17, 2018

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Babych brothers lending a helping hand overseas

Dave and Wayne Babych are years removed from productive NHL careers, but next month their keen interest in the game is taking them to their ancestral homeland.

The brothers, who grew up near Two Hills, Alta., and spent much of their adulthood based in the Winnipeg area, may be the best-known players of Ukrainian descent to play in the bigs. On Nov. 6, they’ll be leading an expeditition on a goodwill tour of Ukraine, bringing their expertise and some much-needed hockey equipment on behalf of the newly formed Canadian Friends of Hockey in Ukraine (CFHU).

The Babych brothers, sons of Ed and Tillie, will be guests of honour at the Carpathian Hockey League tournament In Novoyavorivsk, an international event attracting teams from Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the host country.

Following the tournament, the brothers will conduct a three-day skills camp for members of Halitsky Levy HC.

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THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck</p><p>Former Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dave Babych along with his brother Wayne, is leading an expeditition of goodwill to Ukraine on behalf of the newly-formed Canadian Friends of Hockey in Ukraine (CFHU).</p>

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Former Winnipeg Jets defenceman Dave Babych along with his brother Wayne, is leading an expeditition of goodwill to Ukraine on behalf of the newly-formed Canadian Friends of Hockey in Ukraine (CFHU).

Dave and Wayne Babych are years removed from productive NHL careers, but next month their keen interest in the game is taking them to their ancestral homeland.

The brothers, who grew up near Two Hills, Alta., and spent much of their adulthood based in the Winnipeg area, may be the best-known players of Ukrainian descent to play in the bigs. On Nov. 6, they’ll be leading an expeditition on a goodwill tour of Ukraine, bringing their expertise and some much-needed hockey equipment on behalf of the newly formed Canadian Friends of Hockey in Ukraine (CFHU).

<p>Wayne Babych, 60, has a long association with Sports Central, a charity that gathers, repairs, recycles and redistributes sports equipment to children who cannot afford to play.</p>

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Wayne Babych, 60, has a long association with Sports Central, a charity that gathers, repairs, recycles and redistributes sports equipment to children who cannot afford to play.

The Babych brothers, sons of Ed and Tillie, will be guests of honour at the Carpathian Hockey League tournament In Novoyavorivsk, an international event attracting teams from Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the host country.

Following the tournament, the brothers will conduct a three-day skills camp for members of Halitsky Levy HC.

More than 200 players between the ages of six and 18 will be participating. The Babychs will close their 10-day trip in Brody, where their ancestors originated from.

Wayne Babych has a long association with Sports Central, an Edmonton-based charity whose chief aim is to gather, repair, recycle and redistribute sports equipment to children who cannot afford the opportunity to play.

"I’ve done this a long time," said Wayne, 60. "I’ve done a lot more local stuff helping people in the Winnipeg area but you have to give something back... It feels good to do it.

"We’re trying to help through our connections to the NHLPA and alumni, the Jets and the Oilers. They’re not a financially set group. It’s also a discovery trip, too, to see where they stand.

"Hopefully, we can put our heads together to try and help them."

<p>The Babych brothers Dave, left, and Wayne during their NHL playing days during the 1980-81 season.</p>

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

The Babych brothers Dave, left, and Wayne during their NHL playing days during the 1980-81 season.

Wayne’s work has taken him to distant northern Canada locations such as Baker Lake, Rankin Inlet, Berens River and Sandy Lake. His younger brother has been a more recent addition to the cause.

Earlier this year, Dave Babych spent time in Beijing coaching kids on a goodwill hockey trip.

"We both know the value of it," said Dave, 57. "Even to have two goalies with equipment, you’re talking thousands of dollars, so for anyone who doesn’t have the equipment, just an opportunity to play is special and it’s special for us, too."

Prior to their departure, Wayne Babych will be a guest speaker at the official launch of the Winnipeg-based CFHU on Friday at Boogies Diner and Sports Lounge on Main Street.

The organization’s goal is to foster the development of the game in Ukraine by way of coaching and mentorship for young players. The event, beginning at 7 p.m., is free and open to the public.

"I’m looking forward to (the trip), but I don’t know what to expect," Dave Babych said. "In saying that, I’m excited, I’m going to see if the perogies are any better than my mom’s."

On Dec. 14, the CFHU is staging a fundraiser at Canad Inns Garden City beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25.

Contact Vern Zatwarnicki at 1-204-612-9179 for more information.

mike.sawatzky@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @sawa14

Mike Sawatzky

Mike Sawatzky
Sports Reporter

Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.

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History

Updated on Wednesday, October 31, 2018 at 8:58 PM CDT: Fixes incorrect phone number

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