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From Kenya to U.K. to hockey expert – the (almost) unbelievable rise of Chris Kibui

The Hockey News
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CHRIS KIBUI (hockeytutorial.com) Author: The Hockey News

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From Kenya to U.K. to hockey expert – the (almost) unbelievable rise of Chris Kibui

The Hockey News
By:

Chris Kibui, the passionate content creator of Hockey Tutorial, has taken an unlikely route to becoming a go-to guy for gear info and how-to hockey guides.

BY MATT CARLSON

Chris Kibui, the passionate content creator of Hockey Tutorial, gets some memorable messages, such as this one via Facebook: “I am LOLing, as a Canadian and 15-year hockey player, I would never guess I would be getting skate tips from a British-sounding black man. Awesome video, 100% detail, thank you for posting it, it was a lot of help…”

Kibui isn’t just British-sounding: Hockey Tutorial is based in Cambridge, England. Kibui usually plays 40 miles up the road in Peterborough, a small city that’s home to one of just 55 indoor rinks in the United Kingdom.

“Me being probably the most minute demographic in hockey – black and English from Kenya – it’s pretty interesting the comments that get left,” Kibui said. “But I do enjoy reading them.”

Hockey Tutorial’s equipment review videos provide top-to-bottom analyses with detail and clarity. And Kibui presents everything in crisp, proper English.

In other segments, he and his associates (friends and rec league teammates) precisely demonstrate skating and skills. There are also hockey lifestyle stories, such as a trip to Helsinki where Kibui and a friend, Chris Curtiss, who doubles as cameraman, played shinny on a frozen Baltic Sea harbor.

“Initially the idea behind the website was started because it was incredibly difficult to learn the sport here in England,” Kibui said.

Hockey Tutorial has about 18,000 regular followers, with 15,000 subscribed to the associated YouTube account. Comments and thanks come from all over the world, and increasingly from Canada and the United States.

Kibui, 25, was born in Nairobi then moved with his mom and brother to London before he turned 10. At about 16, Kibui visited a now-closed rink that was three bus rides and a train away from home.  He became entranced watching people in a routine public skate, so he set out to learn for himself. It wasn’t easy.

“I found that the people at the ice rink that could skate…they really didn’t give you the time of day as a beginner and explain what they were doing,” he said. “You’d ask them, but it was quite a disheartening feeling to get.”

Lessons weren’t an option, so Kibui watched experienced skaters and mimicked them. Based on the skating skills he demonstrates in his videos, he’s come a long way. Kibui started his online hockey presence by posting a “very rudimentary” YouTube video on how to make a hockey stop.

“It managed to reach about 400,000 views in six or seven months,” he said. “The whole thing has kind of spiralled from there.”

Kibui enlisted the help of an old non-hockey friend, Dan Fry, for added tech support to launch Hockey Tutorial. Now it’s evolving, looking and sounding more authoritative to the hockey world. In a review of the new Bauer Supreme TotalOne MX3, he compares the skate with Bauer’s flagship model from 2013 going step-by-step from the runner to the boot top. Kibui believes players at all levels should fully understand the benefits of high-end skates before plunking down $800 for a new pair.

“They need to know there’s a justification,” he said. “That’s what I try to bring across.”

This feature originally appeared in the September 15, 2014 edition of The Hockey News magazine. Get in-depth features like this one, and much more, by subscribing now.

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From Kenya to U.K. to hockey expert – the (almost) unbelievable rise of Chris Kibui