Scheduling games can be really hard to do when you are the only team in your country.

That is something we, as Canadians and Americans, take for granted because of all the rinks and players there are in our countries. However, for the team in Kenya, they are in that exact boat and have nobody to play against.

Every Wednesday and Sunday the Kenya Ice Lions take to the ice at the first ever ice rink in East and Central Africa at the Panari Sky Center Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya to play they game they have grown to love.

Tim Hortons heard about the team and decided to share the love of Canada’s game with the Ice Lions by bringing them to the birthplace of hockey.

Not only were the Lions flown to Canada, but the coffee and donut giant helped to arrange a few surprises for them, as well as a game against another team. 12 members of the senior Ice Lions team were able to have the opportunity to do so.

One of the first surprises occurred at the rink. When they arrived, they found brand new CCM hockey equipment and personalized jerseys waiting for them. But that was not the biggest surprise of the day for the team. They proceeded to get into their new gear and have their team pep talk when they found out they had a couple of new teammates.

Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon.

Not only were the Ice Lions playing their first real game, but they had a pair of NHL stars playing with them. The game alone would be memories for a lifetime for the men but getting to suit up and play with two NHL stars just made that moment of stepping out on the ice that much more memorable.

Tim Hortons had one last surprise for the team from Kenya. They made a donation to Kenya’s You Hockey League to help ensure that the Ice Lions’ passion for the game lives on with the next generation.

Sports has brought people closer together for many years, and this was just another example of it. It wasn’t just crossing a boarder but and ocean making the connection of the game and people. This is just another example of the bond sports builds with not just your next-door neighbour but people world wide.

Just think about the stories these 12 men will have to tell their grandchildren. They will never forget this moment.