WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WKBW) — Faustin Ushindi laced up skates for the first time when he was 11 years old. But he had only been in the United States for four years.
"Everything was new and different. I didn't go to school for like three months or something. I just stayed in the house," Ushindi said. "I didn't know anything, what to do, so I just, I didn't know what to do."
Once Ushindi started going to school, the adjustment got easier for him. Then, his mother signed him up for some sessions on the ice with Hasek's Heroes. Skating was an adjustment for him, too.
"I wanted to learn how to stop by myself," Ushindi said. "And then I got it down a little bit, then I told my coach to see that I learned it and then tried it. And then I fell and hurt my knee pretty bad."
But with dedication and hard work, Ushindi made a club team less than a year after the first time he took the ice.
"He just grinds, but it's never a grind. It's just fun for him. So I think that's the big thing that keeps him getting better," Ian Trudell said.
Trudell coaches for the Wheatfield Blades and is the director of hockey operations for Hasek's Heroes. When he noticed Ushindi's perserverance on the ice and his situation at home, Trudell took him under his wing.
"His family had a bit of an irregular schedule," Trudell said. "He would go home and there wouldn't be anyone home... I wanted to make sure he had food or someone to go home to."
Both for the Blades and for Hasek's Heroes, the two are nearly inseparable now. Trudell is part of the Ushindi family.
"It means everything to me," Ushindi said. "That Ian helps me and cares, like, it really means a lot."