WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WKBW) — Faustin Ushindi and his family immigrated from Uganda six years ago after being originally from the Congo, and while his mother and siblings all found work in Buffalo, Faustin found the sport of hockey. And a friend and mentor along the way.
When Ushindi first picked up hockey, all he wanted to do was skate on his own.
"I was using a walker and I wanted to learn how to stop by myself," Ushindi says, "and then I got it down a little bit, then I told my coach to see that I learned it...then I hurt my knee pretty bad."
Just eight months after not being able to stop by himself, he made the cut for a travel team -- his coach and mentor Ian Trudell says it's a testament to his hard work.
"We call it work ethic, but I don't know what else to call it," Trudell says, "He just grinds but it's never a grind, it's just so fun for him; so I think that's the big thing that keeps him getting better."
Even though Faustin and his family found the transition to Western New York overwhelming, six years later he can't get away from the rink.
"Everything was new and different," Ushindi says, "I didn't go to school for like a whole month, I mean like three months or something, I just stayed in the house...everything was so different, [now] staying away from a puck and the ice for two days, or a day, I just get bored."
When Coach Trudell realized how busy the Ushindi family was, he took Faustin under his wing. Now Ian's part of the family.
"Holidays, birthday, they've made dinner for me, we've exchanged Christmas gifts, and I pick him up every morning in the summer now, and drive him home in the afternoon," Trudell says.
Ushindi knows just how much his coach helps him out not only in his hockey career, but with his entire family.
"Helping me helps my mom and my brothers a lot," Ushindi says, "it means everything to me, like, that Ian helps me and cares."