Five Toronto sisters got a big surprise on Thursday – opening a door to find themselves staring at hockey royalty.
Six-time Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser spoke to the girls through a door-sized TV screen, live from the Canada Olympic House in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“Oh my god, hi!” exclaimed one of the girls as she opened the door. “This is amazing!”
The Azmi sisters, Haleemah, Sajidah, Husnah, Asiyah, and Nuha, are big into ball hockey in their community and are breaking down barriers in the sport.
The girls were speaking with Wickenheiser through the Red Door, a traveling communications rig retailer Canadian Tire is taking across the country so friends, family and fans can speak to Canadian Olympians and Paralympians in PyeongChang as if they were standing face to face and talking through an open door.
Wickenheiser is one of the girls’ hockey idols, said one of the sisters. “You literally are so inspiring to us. You have no idea. We’ve watched you for so many Olympics. This is so amazing.”
“That’s a cool story, and Mom and Dad says, hey, go and play hockey,” Wickenheiser told Global News in Gangneung, South Korea.
“For young Muslim women that doesn’t happen everyday.”
She also got to speak with the girls’ father, who says he’s a Leafs fan. “I always loved hockey. I always wanted to play and share it with everyone.”
Wickenheiser said she’d love to visit the girls in Toronto sometime and play a game. She even offered a skating lesson to teach them to stop – the sisters have had trouble on the ice in the past.
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She had left some signed jerseys that were handed to the girls at the end of their remote conversation, and they were thrilled to get them.
“You literally just made my year and it’s only February!”
Wickenheiser connected to the Azmi sisters with the help of Canadian Tire’s Red Door program at Canada Olympic House in South Korea. The sisters were in Toronto.