Teacher changed lives of youth by forming hockey team

Teacher changed lives of youth by forming hockey team

Eyüp Serbest – ISTANBUL
Teacher changed lives of youth by forming hockey team

A physical education teacher has changed the lives of young people in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district by forming a hockey team with athletes who had never heard of the name of the sport before.

The fate of the district changed in 2013 when Ercan Tekin, a former hockey player and an idealist teacher, was appointed to a secondary school in Esenyurt after graduating from the university.

While he was in the university, he was a national hockey player. His love of hockey continued to Esenyurt as the very first thing he did when he came to the district was to form a school team.

In a year, the school team achieved local success, which encouraged Tekin to establish the “Esenyurt Hockey Team” a year later in 2014.

That team is a “shining star in the provincial and national leagues.”

Nine out of all 60 members of the team are now playing in the national team. The team will be able to participate in the European qualifications if they succeed to be in the first two in the National Hockey Süper Lig next year.

“I am not only their teacher or coach. I am also their friend,” Tekin said. “Many said these students will not go on studying in the school. Now they shine like diamonds.”

Located in Istanbul’s west, Esenyurt was known as a district of blue-collar workers and poor and migrant families. With the construction boom of large residential complexes in the area in the past few years, Esenyurt benefited from major development. It now has four cultural centers.

Some resemble Tekin to Ken Howard of the famous U.S. TV series “The White Shadow,” in which the story of a white former NBA professional retires and gets a job as a basketball coach in a predominantly black inner-city high school.

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