Calgary prepares to reclaim world record for longest hockey game

The game is expected to last nearly 11 days and raise funds for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation

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They had an eight-year hiatus, but the Kids Hockey Marathon is back.

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Forty skaters are preparing to slash the ice time of a more than full NHL season to less than 11 days in March and April to reclaim Calgary’s world record and support the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. The teams will be on the ice, consecutively, for more than 261 hours, or just under 11 days.

On Thursday, Team Hope and Team Cure took to the ice for a scrimmage, getting acquainted ahead of the March 31, 2022 face-off.

“For what my body is going to go through here, I would do it 10 times for what a child goes through battling cancer,” said organizer Alex Halat of the Chestermere Recreation Center just outside Calgary, where the two teams will then meet. year.

This is the third hockey marathon Halat has helped organize, with events in 2012 and 2014 raising over $3 million. Previous games have seen players walk away with cracked ribs, broken bones and torn tendons, but more so, a sense of camaraderie and accomplishment.

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“Unfortunately, the cancer has not gone away,” Halat said. “At the end of the day, we’re trying to break previous records not just in terms of hockey, but using hockey as a mechanism to break records for what we’ve amassed financially in recent games.”

Three cities have passed the record since Calgary achieved it in 2012. The home team broke its own record in 2014, but since then Edmonton and Buffalo have each held the honor, each using their achievement to amass funds for local charities.

“The guys at Buffalo, we gave them kind of a playbook on how to do this. They did it really well,” said three-time entrant Greg Britton, referring to Buffalo’s world-record 260-hour game in November.

Nick Lobay is nursing a blister on his foot on Day 9 of the 2014 hockey marathon.
Nick Lobay is nursing a blister on his foot on Day 9 of the 2014 hockey marathon. Photo by Postmedia file

The players range in age from 25 to 65, with an average in the mid-40s. All are tasked with taking shifts of up to 10 hours. A handful of skaters return for their second or third try, bringing with them a wealth of experience to help rookies through the enormous feat of endurance.

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“(In 2012) people were showing up with take-out plates of lasagna and pizza and stuff like that,” Britton said.

“We realized after the first one that this food probably wasn’t so healthy to keep us going for that amount of time.”

Britton said a lot of people ask why they don’t just “blow the record” and play for more than 12 days to secure the record for good.

“But that’s not the intention of it,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s to raise money for worthy causes.”

All money raised will go to the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation to support children and families dealing with childhood cancer.

“It’s been a great partnership,” said Catherine Feenstra, the foundation’s community initiatives and events manager.

“We are so grateful to the guys for rallying around the kids who need this support, and for the community to rally around them and help raise the necessary funds.”

For more information about the Hockey Marathon for Kids, including volunteer information and fundraising updates, visit hockeymarathon.com.

mrodriguez@postmedia.com

Twitter: @michaelrdrguez

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Catherine J. Martinez