Wranglers forward plays on as family defends home country Ukraine

Slava Ukraini! It means Glory to Ukraine!
Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 12:49 AM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - 18-year-old Danylo Korzhyletskyi left Ukraine early February to follow his dream of playing hockey in America.

On the same day Russia controlled areas outside the capital of Kyiv, Korzhyletskyi’s hometown, the forward scored his first career NAHL goal against the New Mexico Ice Wolves. He lit the lamp on Friday, February 25, 2022.

“Scoring the first goal felt amazing. I mean I liked that everybody was cheering for me for this first goal,” said Korzhyletskyi. Actually I was just like I need to put my stick on the ice and just slam the puck. You know what I mean.”

While fans can watch him on Amarillo Ice, his mind is not only in the game but also with his family and girlfriend who are dealing with a life and death situation defending their country.

“Parents are like that. They are always saying everything is okay in Ukraine, but I can actually see the news and what’s happening there,” said Korzhyletskyi. “My brother is fighting for his country right now. My brother is like the closest person to me. Tough times right now for Ukraine, but Ukrainian people are the bravest people in my opinion and the world can see right now. Just like speaking to her like every hour. Trying to be in touch with her because she’s like scared because you never know what’s going to happen in like 10 minutes.”

While Korzhyletskyi can’t fight for his country, he battles for his American family, the Wranglers.

“I’m trying to focus on my goals here in the U.S.,” said Korzhyletskyi. “Worrying about my family, but I’m here to make my dreams.”

Some refugees have fled Ukraine, but Korzhyletskyi’s family has chosen to protect their people.

“We all stay and fight for our country even if we know we all die. Everything like happening in the Ukraine right now it just inspires me. Slava Ukraini. It means Glory to Ukraine.”

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