The Away Game is a three-minute film that captures a trip across continents and cultures as it tells the story of hockey’s unlikeliest team.
It opens with a man named Ben Azegere telling his story of being introduced to hockey. Born in Kenya, he’d never experienced skating, but when he happened to find a live hockey match online, he suddenly had a dream of learning to master that skill and ultimately the game itself.
The film recounts Ben’s efforts to recruit the players needed to create the Kenya Ice Lions, his country’s first and only hockey team. As much as the team loved the sport, the lack of competitors meant they couldn’t really experience the game as it’s meant to be played. This sets up the core of the story. Tim Hortons, a Canadian company with a longstanding relationship with hockey, heard about the Ice Lions and immediately wanted to help them by bringing them to Canada to play a game in the home of hockey.
The film documents the teams’ journey to the home of hockey, Canada, hockey, and their arrival at a local arena. Upon entering the locker room, they find a full kit of equipment along with regulation jerseys made specially for them.
Things take a turn when two new players - NHL superstars Sidney Crosby and Nathan McKinnon – enter the locker room. Rather than wearing their usual Pittsburgh Penguins and Colorado Avalanche gear, they’re suited up as Ice Lions because for that afternoon, they’re part of the team. Already overwhelmed, this surprise left the team speechless.
The Ice Lions hit the ice and revel in a game with two of its greatest players as teammates.The film concludes in Kenya, where a youth hockey league is now flourishing.
Within four days the video had four million views. After 72 hours, social media impressions hit eight million. Then it went global: CNN, The Huffington Post, BBC, ESPN and USA Today featured the story. The campaign garnered over 300 million earned media impressions, was an Ad Age Editor’s Pick of the Day, and listed among the Top 10 Campaigns of the Year by many industry publications.