The first and only ice hockey team in Kenya continues to defy the odds by playing and practicing the sport in one of the few ice rinks found across Eastern and Central Africa. This pioneer team is now inspiring a new generation of ice hockey players who hope to expand the sport in Kenya.
Training sessions are held at least three times a week at this ice rink in Nairobi. It is here at Kenya’s solar-powered Panari Sky Center that the Kenya Ice Lions, the first ice hockey team in Kenya, was born.
Tim Colby moved to Nairobi from Ottawa in 2010 to work for the Canadian Embassy. Several months later, he would help train and coach Kenya’s first ice hockey team.
“A few years ago, a few Kenyans wanted to take it up. Step it up a notch, play a lot more seriously and get into real hockey games,” Colby said. “So, we took it up with a few other Americans, Canadians, Slovaks, Swedes and others. We started helping out a bit, but soon it didn't take time for the Kenyans to take off by themselves.”
The Ice Lions have never had another team to play. In 2018, the Canadian restaurant chain Tim Horton's flew 12 of them to Toronto to play their first real game, a friendly against a team of firefighters.