Kenya’s only Ice Hockey team played their first ever international competitive match after being invited to play in Canada.
The Ice Lions have been unfortunate to never have faced any opposition except themselves until now.
Tim Hortons, a Canadian restaurant chain, sponsored the team’s trip to Canada.
On their official Twitter handle, Tim Hortons said, “Kenya’s only hockey team had nobody to play. So, we brought them to Canada for a game. And, we surprised them with a couple new teammates.”
To add onto the once in a lifetime opportunity of playing an actual team, the Ice Lions were joined by National Hockey League superstars Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon.
Sidney plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins while MacKinnon plays for Colorado Avalanche and the duo played on the Kenyan team.
“That is the best part of the game. It just reaches so many people even in Kenya where there is no ice,” Sidney Crosby said.
“I did not know what to expect but those guys looked great,” MacKinnon added.
The team also got new equipment including uniforms in Kenyan colours during the trip.
"It's a dream to be in Canada and to play our first game in full gear, it's all amazing," captain Ben Azegere said in a video shared by Tim Hortons.
The National Hockey League also lauded the move and said on Twitter, “Hockey is for everyone. That is why Tim Hortons gave Kenya’s only hockey team the opportunity of a lifetime.”
The team is eyeing to qualification for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be held in Beijing, China.
Tim Hortons is also looking to fund a local youth league with the aim of developing the sport locally.