News / Africa

Ice Hockey Gains Popularity in Kenya

At the Solar Ice Rink in Nairobi, some young Kenyans are playing a new and exciting western game, ice hockey
At the Solar Ice Rink in Nairobi, some young Kenyans are playing a new and exciting western game, ice hockey

Multimedia

Mike Sunderland

In a country famed for its distance runners and sweltering sun, few would expect Kenya to be enthusiastic about winter sports. But at an ice rink in the capital, some young Kenyans are playing a new and exciting western game.

Ice hockey is not usually associated with Africa, but at the Solar Ice Rink in Nairobi, the players are happy to try something different.

Alisaid Kilange took up the sport a year ago. After weekly training sessions and the help of American and Canadian friends, he has discovered a new passion. He says his learning curve was steep.

Alisaid Kilange
Alisaid Kilange

"I couldn't play, I thought it was very hard and tricky," he said. "Balancing the skates, controlling the stick, it was tricky until I tried it."

Nowadays, Ali says the speed and the skill of hockey are what he likes the best. The surface, 1,500 square meters in an upmarket Nairobi hotel, is the only place where he has played. The staff says it costs thousands of dollars a month to keep the ice cold, no easy task in a country where snow only falls on the highest mountains.  It's the only ice rink in east Africa.

With the nearest ice rink nearly 2,000 miles away in South Africa, competition is hard to come by. But the players are confident that given more time, more Kenyans will get involved and the sport will grow enough to hold regular games.

On the streets, knowledge of ice hockey is, at this point, limited.

"Ice hockey? No, I don't think I've seen that, but ice skating I have seen," says one woman when asked what she knows about the sport.

"Ice hockey? All I know is that I've seen it on TV, I've seen it on movies," says one man. "It's just like the hockey we have here only that they do it on ice."

Kenya has long dominated distance running at the Summer Olympics, but some Kenyans believe they could one day rival Jamaica's famous bobsleigh team by bringing their own brand of "cool runnings" to a major tournament.

Would anyone like to see Kenya competing in the Winter Olympics? Is that something that's possible?

"I think it's very possible with the correct coaching and marketing of the local game," one man replied. "Many Kenyans have not joined it because it is foreign to them."

It's unlikely that ice hockey will ever reach the popularity of soccer or distance running here, but in this small corner of Nairobi, it seems it's one cold sport that will continue to receive a warm welcome.

You May Like

British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign Jihadists More

Audio Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid