Mburu is passionate about hockey. That's why he sometimes trains in roller-blades on rooftops to make up for the lack of “ice time.”
“My Journey to playing ice hockey started when I joined college, I rollerbladed first then I played inline hockey,” said Mburu, an architect from his hometown of Kikuyu, some 20 km northwest of Nairobi.
“Then one day a few of my friends invited me to go and play ice hockey and that was the beginning of this beautiful journey.”
His team, the Kenya Ice Lions, also follow suit when they get to the Panari Hotel, a Nairobi-based leisure facility, where they are allowed to hone their skills. Other times the team watches online tutorials or are taught by volunteering expat coaches who live in Nairobi.
“As an ice hockey player, knowing that I do not have enough ice time to train and the exposure is not really as good as compared to abroad, most I result to there is assistance from our couches who are all volunteers, they are expats who live in Nairobi and work in Nairobi,” he said.
As the only side in the country, they usually organize games between themselves. The Ice Lions have already played friendly matches against teams from the United States and Canada and eventually Mburu hopes Kenya will join the International Ice Hockey Federation.
Tim Colby is a referee and Kenya's Ice Lion head coach. He said players on the team are “a little bit hungrier for success”, adding that it is a “special and unique” team.
“When I couch here I realize the kids pick it up faster, they are a little bit hungrier, they want to succeed they want to try out this new sport, and you know if we have 40 or 50 people playing ice hockey, they are one of 40 and 50 people in a country of 40 plus million, so it's very special they are very unique,” Colby said.