Kenya's hockey team, Ice Lions, dazzled their opponents in the Madaraka Day Cup which is the first international ice hockey tournament to be hosted in Nairobi, Kenya.
The event involved the local Kenya Ice Lions against teams made up of members of embassies and NGOs from Canada, Europe and the United States.
Ice Lions floored Canada and USA, lost to team Europe in the primaries but went ahead to face USA in the finals of the 3-on-3 tournament.
In a highly hyped match that stretched to overtime (OT), Kenya lost to the US by a meagre one point and clinched the second position.
Both local and international press were present to provide media coverage for the event.
“We reached out to media outlets that reported on us before. So, we’re quite happy how this turned out. We had CGTN, a Chinese Station, Voice of America, the Standard newspaper and also ZDF, a German TV-channel which is working on a story about the Ice Lions.
“Tim Colby is our head coach and the person who’s helped us grow both as players and as a league in the making. He’s the one who reached out to various embassies in Kenya such as the U.S., Canadian and also European embassies calling for interested parties to join in," Rob Ao Opiyo, an Ice Lion player told the reporters.
The four teams posed for a joint team photo following the 3-on-3 tournament.
The Ice Lions are scouting for local children to learn to play the game as most of the current players began playing the game quite late.
"The majority of the current Kenyan players are late starters, picking up ice hockey while being in their twenties," remarked the team's head coach, Tim Colby. The team is now looking forward to joining the International Ice Hockey Family (IIHF).
"We are in the process of registering our federation. We have a strong desire to become a part of the IIHF and we are working our way to it. We beat the expat Canadians, that was a great feeling, but we lost to the Americans. But overall the tournament was a great success! We definitely want more of that,” ended Opiyo.
At the end of the action-filled weekend in Nairobi, Team USA hoist the 2019 Madaraka Day Cup. The final game ended 10-9 after sudden death in Overtime against the Ice Lions from Team Kenya. Team Canada came in third after beating Team Europe 13-1.
Ambassador Kyle McCarter from the US Embassy in Nairobi performed a ceremonial face-off at the final game and awarded the trophy to the 2019 champions.
Below are the results registered during the tournament.
Game 1: Kenya vs Europe: 13-17
Game 2: Canada vs USA: 6-9
Game 3: Europe vs Canada: 17-11
Game 4: Kenya vs USA: 13-6
Game 5: Kenya vs Canada: 6-4
Third place Game: Canada vs Europe: 13-1
Finals: Kenya vs USA: 9-10 (OT)
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