Hockey, Eh?

You’re thinking the NHL,  or the local arena where you drink coffee early on a Saturday morning while your kids race after the puck.

Uh, yeah, but I’m thinking Kenya.

As in the Kenya Ice Lions. You know the guys from Africa? The ones who taught themselves to skate on the only ice in the whole country. The guys who don’t have a goalie or anyone to play against.

Well, we can’t have that. Can we, Canada?

No, we can’t.

So Tim Hortons did something about it. They flew the twelve member Kenya Ice Lions to Toronto to play a friendly game against the Mississauga Firefighters.

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Two Canadian NHL players, Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon, showed up to help out.

And they weren’t the only ones who wanted to help the Ice Lions get a game in. Gary Mercer, the owner of a Toronto trucking company, pulled friends and family together, found a goalie (his son) for the Ice Lions, a rink in Etobicoke, and a referee.

As Gary says, “We take it for granted here, that you can grab a stick, find some ice, and play a game, but that’s not the always the case in other countries.”

True, and enough to make any Canadian weep.

Benard Azegere, Captain of the Ice Lions, is dreaming big. With the help of a Tim Hortons donation to fund a youth hockey league and new equipment from CCM, he’s thinking Olympics. “It may not happen this year, next year, but trust me, one day, … Kenya will play in the Olympics.”

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And you thought we just exported wheat 🙂

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Home Away From Home

When you’ve seen enough museums, castles, and churches. When your feet are killing you and you can’t access Google Maps because the battery on your phone has died. When the clouds open up and you left your umbrella in the hotel…

Tourist Overload.

The cure?

Something familiar. Some place that’s just like home.

Don’t think I don’t see the irony here.

We pack our bags and hit the road because we want to see new, different, other — and then all we want is the same old, same old.

Why?

Because being a stranger in a strange land is exhausting. Also interesting, exciting, and amazing, but it fries the brain.

For most North Americans, that little bit of home is a Starbucks or if we’re really desperate a McDonald’s. For Canadians though, nothing says home like Tim’s.

In Belfast, a block or two away from their incredibly beautiful city hall … could it be? Nah. No way, not here.

But, yes. There it was, as Canadian as the Maple Leaf — Tim Hortons in Northern Ireland.

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Did I go in?

Two words for you — French Vanilla 🙂

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