“I had a one in two chance of dying on the train”

Freshly returned from Ukraine where he was playing in the best league in the country until the outbreak of the sad war raging there, Quebec hockey player Eliezer Sherbatov generously agreed to come and tell “JiC” everything he had experienced these last days.

And the 30-year-old athlete experienced horror.

See the whole of this touching interview in the main video.

“At five o’clock in the morning last Wednesday, the whole team was at the hotel in Mariupol (a town on the shores of the Sea of ​​Azov and less than 100 kilometers from the border with Russia). Suddenly, I hear a huge “BOOM!”, then the whole team woke up. Everything was shaking around us. I open the curtains and I see a light coming towards my window. I start to get very nervous, then I hear another explosion. There, you understand that it is serious.

“The team then gathered in the lobby and our coach looked us straight in the eye, then said: ‘The war has begun. I advise you to stay, but you can also leave. It’s as you wish.”

“But you can’t leave! On the left are the Russians and on the right are the Ukrainians. We are surrounded by tanks and soldiers. There’s just no room to move around!”

Sherbatov then continues with an extremely revealing sentence.

“I haven’t slept for three days. In fact, you refuse to sleep, because you don’t know if you’ll wake up…”

Fortunately, the hockey player had the immense chance of being able to jump on a train a few days later. This train would eventually be the first step in returning to a normal life.

But never, says Sherbatov angrily, did the Canadian embassy do anything to lend him a hand.

“The train was heading towards Lviv, a Ukrainian city where the Israeli embassy is located. I had to turn to this option, because the Canadian Embassy did absolutely nothing! I was still a Canadian citizen in the middle of the war…I emailed and called the embassy, ​​then all they offered me in response was an email like ” copied and pasted” where asked me to take refuge in a bomb shelter.”

The former Montreal Junior player in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (LHJMQ) then stops for a moment. Then, clearly shaken by the memories returning to his mind, resumes.

“If I had listened to the Embassy, ​​I would have been caught without water and food en route to…death. I am extremely disappointed with the Canadian government.”

Eliezer Sherbatov a (former QMJHL player) is back from Ukraine Laval, Quebec, Canada.  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 PHOTO: MARTIN ALARIE / QMI AGENCY / JOURNAL DE MONTREAL


Eliezer Sherbatov a (former QMJHL player) is back from Ukraine Laval, Quebec, Canada. Tuesday, March 1, 2022 PHOTO: MARTIN ALARIE / QMI AGENCY / JOURNAL DE MONTREAL

Sherbatov, also holder of an Israeli passport, was finally contacted by the Israeli embassy, ​​who then put him on the track of the famous train.

“I left just in time, because it was the only train going to Lviv. But we still had to go through Kiev. There was great danger. Mr. Lajoie, I must admit that I call this train the “death train”.

“The aircraft had arrived four hours late and two hours before boarding, a soldier came to tell me that all Ukrainian trains were being machine-gunned. I was told that I had a one in two chance of dying on the train. I have a friend who chose to stay put and not ride. For my part, I am embarked, but it was the longest 24 hours of my life. Thank you to life for being on my side.”

Eventually arriving in Lviv, Sherbatov boarded a bus with 17 other Israelis. The car took the group to Poland, where the athlete was given charge of the entire group.

“The Israeli embassy was unable to send anyone to join us, so I was given the mission to help women, children and the elderly cross the border. It was finally in Poland that we were able to take a flight, but before that we had to wait long days outside, in the bitter cold.

“Today I realize that the stars have aligned for me and these 17 other people. I consider them all to be part of my family now.”


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