‘How can you play ice hockey if you’ve never seen ice?'
To the greatness of small
‘Nothing is impossible. With so many people saying it couldn't be done, all it takes is an imagination.’ Michael Phelps, swimmer
One of the most unique things about human beings is their ability to unite around a common dream, even when it’s as unlikely as ice powered by the African sun.
In a country where the only natural ice exists on top of the second highest mountain in Africa, a group of passionate people gather weekly to play in the Kenyan Ice hockey league at East and Central Africa’s only solar powered ice rink.
Originally brought together by American Andrew Gremley and Canadians from the University of Manitoba in January 2006, the team is a mix of international and local players. Despite the uniqueness of the sport, more than 50% of the regular team is Kenyan they never fall short of the eight signups required on the team’s facebook page to make their weekly game.
They play without much protective equipment and occasionally skate with blunt blades. It hasn’t stopped them recruiting new members in growing numbers from Nairobi’s sunny streets however, where players are more used to wheels than blades when it comes to hockey.
They are quickly converted by the other players, who describe the moment their blade touches the ice as akin to flying. Many of them also attribute the game to bringing them discipline and hope in otherwise stressful lives.
Their team is supported by a dedicated cast and crew, from Boniface Mukwate, who has maintained the square cornered ice rink by hand since it opened, to the international players who donate equipment and coach the teams.
This diverse group of people have come together behind a new dream, to turn their league into an official federation and bring them one step closer to a cool new reality at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
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