Ice Hockey: National Team Captain Mburu Glad To Be Among Sports Pioneers In Kenya 

Ice Lions Pride captain Benjamin Mburu (Left) against Michael Otieno of Ice Lions Maneaters during the second edition of Kenya Ice Hockey League Friendship Tournament at the Panari Hotel in Nairobi on Wednesday night. PHOTO/ KELLY AYODI (Standard)

NAIROBI, Kenya- Kenya Ice Lions Captain Benjamin Mburu is glad to be among the pioneers of ice hockey that is slowly gaining interest in Kenya.

The 28- year-old center player feels honored and privileged to skipper the national team that has started to go places.

The team is already planning for a North American tour of the USA in August and Canada in December where the players will gain vital skills from world beaters contesting the coveted National Hockey League (NHL).

It will be the second time that the Kenyan side will be visiting North America following their successful tour of the region four years ago.

“We gained vital lessons during our visit to Canada in 2018,” Mburu told Standard Sports.

“The trip completely transformed the team for the better,” he added.

After Canada, the Kenyan outfit had a chance to travel to South Africa where they did a commercial advert for e-commerce firm the Ali Baba.

They also had an opportunity to attend Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, to learn more about the game.

Mburu is happy with his rise in the sport after he was introduced to the game by a close friend in 2015.

His dedication and hard work have made him scale up the ladder to the point where he is now the national team skipper.

For one to be a force to reckon with in the rare game, Mburu says they need to be resilient.

He warns that the sport is quite physical and very unforgiving.

“There are lots of body checks during play, so you need to train hard and cultivate a mental fortitude,” he advises.

Mburu believes Kenya has the potential to become a powerhouse in the sport in the continent if the team gets proper playing gear and an Olympic size ice rink.

Currently, the team holds matches at the Panari Ice Rink in Nairobi under the auspices of sponsors.

National team captain Benjamin Mburu in action at the ongoing Kenya Ice Hockey League Friendship Tournament at the Panari Hotel. PHOTO/ KELLY AYODI (Standard)

“Ice hockey is the most expensive team sport in the world, this is the reason we are calling upon the government to step in and help the federation to build a state-of-the-art playing and training arena.

“We are glad the Tourism, Wildlife and Heritage Ministry has shown great interest to support us,” says Mburu.

Even though Mburu is not hopeful to play professional hockey due to age, he is hopeful that in the next five years, the juniors they are molding currently will be the trendsetters in the sport internationally.

“I’m glad that I’m among the pioneers who are laying the foundation in the game for the next generation of players in this country,” he said.

“My dream is to see Kenya fully registered with the International Ice Hockey Federation, I will be more than happy to see our country win matches at the global arena,” he quipped.

Apart from their plan to visit North America, the Kenya Federation of Ice Sports has lined up several tournaments locally this year among them are the Junior Championships and the Madaraka Day Cup, both to be held in June, and the Jamhuri Day Cup slated for December.

The federation is already hosting the second edition of the Kenya Ice Hockey League Friendship Tournament that is ongoing at the Panari Hotel in Nairobi.

The contest that was flagged off by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Peninah Malonza on Wednesday has attracted players from Japan, Canada, and the USA.

Kenya Ice Hockey League Friendship Tournament Day Two results

Ice Lions Maneaters-1

Howe Leopards -10

Ice Lions Pride-7

Howe Cheetahs-12

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