Picture Africa

Ex-NHL champion Johnny Oduya on a mission to grow ice hockey in Kenya

By Kenneth Nato Wepukhulu

Four years after retirement, Olympic silver medallist David Johnny Oduya is in Kenya to retrace the roots of his father and plant the seeds of ice hockey in Kenya.

David Johnny Oduya © Kelly Ayodi

Oduya, a world bronze medalist, is in the country on two missions: to support and popularise ice hockey in Kenya and to trace his Luo roots in Karachuonyo, Homa Bay County, where his late father was born and buried.

David Johnny Oduya © Kelly Ayodi

Just like former US President Barack Obama, they both had a white mother and a black father who passed away when they were young and the dads were from Kenya and of Luo descent.

David Johnny Oduya © Kelly Ayodi

Oduya, a two-time National Hockey League (NHL) champion born to a Swedish mother. After playing in an ice hockey exhibition match with the Kenyan national team, the Ice Lions, at the Panari Ice Rink in Nairobi he headed to Kendu Bay this weekend  to pay his respects at the grave where the remains of his father were laid to rest in 1993.

Before heading to Kendu Bay, the former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman,  donated ice hockey equipment which included standardised playing gear,  gloves, hockey sticks, pads, jerseys, roller skates, bags and clothing, and other variety of gifts to the Kenya Ice Hockey Federation.

David Johnny Oduya © Kelly Ayodi

“A man without roots is like a tree that does not have roots. Just like Obama,I am curious and serious about tracing my roots. I am in Kenya on a double mission of giving back to the sport by supporting the country that has my roots and to establish a connection with my father’s roots,” he said. 

David Johnny Oduya © Kelly Ayodi

Oduya says Kenya has great potential to produce a professional player who can be a force in the NHL and that was his objective when he decided to support the sport in the country.

David Johnny Oduya during a recent TV interview with KTN News


Names: David Johnny Oduya

Born: October 1, 1981 (age 40)

Nationality: Swedish

Height: 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)

Weight: 195 lb (88 kg; 13 st 13 lb)

Position: Defence

Shot: Left


 Djurgårdens IF

Frölunda HC

New Jersey Devils

Atlanta Thrashers

Winnipeg Jets

Chicago Blackhawks

Dallas Stars

Ottawa Senators

Philadelphia Flyers

National team:  


NHL Draft:

221st overall, 2001 Washington Capitals

Playing career:



Winter Olympics Silver medal – second place 2014 Sochi, South Korea       

World Championships Bronze medal – third place  2009, Kloten, Switzerland

NHL Stanley Cup: 2013, 2015 United States of America (USA)

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