Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon teamed up with coffee chain Tim Hortons to give a group of Kenyan hockey players the experience of a lifetime.
The 12 players that comprise the Kenya Ice Lions meet twice a week to practice at Panari Sky Center Hotel in Nairobi. They've never been able to play in a real game, though. They are the only men's team in their country.
"I had no idea what ice hockey was," Ice Lions captain Benard Azegere said in a video produced by Tim Hortons. "I saw guys playing a game, and I couldn't understand how they were moving. They were like, sliding. That was not running. It was my dream to one day move like them."
Tim Hortons flew the Ice Lions out to Toronto so they could have an opponent on the ice for the first time. CCM provided the players with all new equipment for the game. After Azegere's pregame speech, two new teammates joined them in the locker room -- Crosby and MacKinnon.
Crosby and MacKinnon, donning the Ice Lions' new uniforms, played alongside the Kenyan players in their first game.
For the Ice Lions, it was an unforgettable experience.
"It is a dream to not only have the chance to play in Canada, but to play – for the first time – in full gear alongside two of the greatest players of the game," Azegere said. "When we first started playing in Kenya, we didn't even have full equipment, but now not only do we have that, we can say we've played a real game with some All-Star teammates."
Crosby spoke on the event after Monday's practice at PPG Paints Arena. His biggest takeaway, he said, was how widespread the game of hockey is.
"It's the last place I would have envisioned a hockey rink and guys playing there," Crosby told reporters. "Just to see how much they appreciate it, the whole experience -- they got a chance to go to the Hall of Fame, things like that -- just to see how much they love the game was pretty cool."
After the game, Tim Hortons made a donation to fund Kenya's youth league.
The full experience can be seen in this video, titled "The Away Game":