9-Year-Old Russian Hockey Players Get Taste of Texas

By Amanda Fitzpatrick
|  Saturday, Jan 15, 2011  |  Updated 8:32 PM CDT
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A group of 9-year-olds are competing in the a hockey tournament in <a title=Plano this week." />

Amanda Fitzpatrick, NBCDFW.com

A group of 9-year-olds are competing in the a hockey tournament in Plano this week.

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A group of 9-year-olds traveled thousands of miles from Salavat City, Russia, to compete in the a hockey tournament in Plano this week.

The sixteen children stayed with 10 host families across the Metroplex. A plan to take them to local schools during the day backfired, so host mom Jennifer Calyer used her SeekingSitters business to take them on a tour of North Texas.

"They loved the Museum of Nature & Science," she said. "They got to see the dinosaur. They did see IMAX; I was a little nervous because there's no translation."

The children do not speak English, so it was hard to communicate at first, Calyer said.

"The first day was a little difficult -- they are unsure of me; they don't really know," she said.

But a translator on her phone made it easier to communicate with the kids.

"I used my I phone translator, and they tell me what they like to do, and then we put it together, meet at a central point, dropped them off," Calyer said.

She said she learned a lot from the children in the last two days. Most dream of playing professionally in the NHL or in Russia. They see the Winter Classic Hockey Tournament as a big chance to show off their skills, Calyer said.

"To young boys, whether you live in America or Russia, that's the big time," she said. "So if you are a good student and you are a good player and you have the backing of your town, you can learn a lot culturally about Americans, and Russians learn whole lot about us, and they get to come and showcase what they can do."

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