Opened in downtown Nairobi’s Panari Sky Center in 2005, Solar Ice Rink is home to the 30-member Kenyan Ice Hockey League team. Though their rink is currently too small to qualify as an international standard rink, they have dreams of playing in the Winter Olympics by 2022.
If you didn’t know you were fewer than 90 miles from the equator, it would be hard to tell from the inside of the Solar Ice Rink. The scrape of skates and blaring music echo off mural-covered walls where painted figures of every skin color skate, ski and toboggan against an idyllic alpine backdrop. It’s the only ice rink in East or Central Africa, and it’s where the Kenyan Ice Hockey League meets for a game every Wednesday night…
Lack of funding has been the Kenya Ice Hockey League’s biggest and most constant obstacle to raising its profile. In July of this year, the Royal Moroccan Ice Hockey Federation will host the first African Ice Hockey Cup in Rabat. Kenya was invited but couldn’t put together the money to attend.
“We have a bright future,” says Ben Azegere, the skating instructor, who along with his fellow teacher Alex Kabwoya often gives lessons to local school groups. “For us guys, we started a bit late, but we see a bright future for the kids.”