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Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby and Colorado Avalanche sniper Nathan MacKinnon were traded – to Kenya.


Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby.

Crosby and MacKinnon donned the jerseys of the Kenya Ice Lions and skated with the 12-member team from the African nation in Toronto.

Tim Hortons helped arrange the Lions’ trip to Toronto and surprised the team with visits by Crosby and MacKinnon.

“It is a dream to not only have the chance to play in Canada, but to play – for the first time – in full gear alongside two of the greatest players of the game,” says Benard Azegere,  the Ice Lions captain said in a statement about the event. “When we first started playing in Kenya, we didn’t even have full equipment, but now not only do we have that, we can say we’ve played a real game with some All-Star teammates.”

Crosby said that having Kenyan players on ice is further proof that Hockey is for Everyone.

“I was honored to be able to join the Ice Lions as they played their first game against another team,” Crosby said. “One of the things I love about hockey is how it’s able to reach so many people from so many countries around the world and bring them together.”

Colorado Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon.

The Kenyan players skate twice a week at a rink at the Panari Sky Center Hotel in the capital of Nairobi, according to Adweek. There aren’t enough players in the African nation to put a second team on ice, so the Kenyan hadn’t faced another team until their trip to Canada.

In addition to bringing the ice Lions to Canada, Tim Hortons made a donation to Kenya’s youth hockey league to help the sport grow in that country.

“In Canada – and as a company – Hockey is part of our DNA,” Jorge Zaidan, Head of Marketing, Tim Hortons Canada said. “We are so inspired by the story of the Lions. Despite having no other teams to play against, the players on the Kenya Ice Lions’ passion for the game is unwavering. Their shared passion and love of the game knows no borders.”

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