The New Zealand All Blacks made the haka part of popular culture. The traditional dance has been a fixture of the rugby squad’s games for over 100 years. Haka have been seen in basketball, soccer, and now, thanks to New Zealand’s U20 hockey team, in hockey.
Before taking on South Africa at the IIHF U20 Div. 3 tournament, being held in Dunedin, New Zealand, the New Zealanders removed their helmets and gloves, approached the red line performing the dance, while the South African squad refused to back down, staring right into the eyes of their opponents.
The Lachlan Frear-led haka seemingly worked wonders for the 2013-14 silver medal winning New Zealand as they toppled South Africa 5-1 in their first game of the tournament. New Zealand’s men’s national team is the 37th ranked program in the world, and last captured U20 Div. 3 gold in 2008.
And on a day when non-traditional nations such as Mexico, China, and Turkey also took the ice for their first games at the tournament, Chris Kibui, the creator of Hockey Tutorial, posted a brand new video showing how a group of young men in Kenya show their dedication to hockey.
The five minute short documentary is inspiring and proof that the game’s reach knows no bounds. Playing ice and inline hockey, the men who speak in the video each reveal what hockey means to them and why they want to keep that passion alive. It’s incredible to see the dedication these men show to the sport. Seeing how they continually travel to the only place ice hockey can be played just so to fit in a little bit of ice time is an inspiring thing.
If there was any further proof needed that hockey isn’t just a Canadian game any longer, these two videos can stand as exhibit A and exhibit B.