Tim Hortons hooked up the Kenya Ice Lions with a trip to Toronto for a game, and Crosby and MacKinnon surprised the players by serving as teammates at their game in Canada.
Aside from the trip to Canada, the Kenyan players were astonished to see new equipment, provided by CCM, and personalized jerseys at each player’s locker. That, plus the prospect of playing another team, was overwhelming.
“It’s a dream to be in Canada,” captain Ben Azegere told his teammates in the locker room during the video shared by Tim Hortons. “To play our first game in full gear, it’s all amazing.”
But then Crosby and MacKinnon showed up, driving many of the players to tears.
“Sidney,” Azegere said, “Seeing my favorite player come through the door wearing our jersey, I felt like I was in heaven.”
Crosby and MacKinnon surprised the Kenyan team, but they were the ones who were left impressed by the African team’s talent.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but I thought those guys looked great,” MacKinnon said. “It’s cool to see the genuine excitement that they had, and it got us really fired up.”
Tim Hortons will help fund Kenya’s youth hockey league, so there will be many more games in the days ahead.
“That’s the best part about the game, is how it reaches so many people,” Crosby said. “Even in a place like Kenya, where you wouldn’t think that there’s even ice.”