STRATHCONA COUNTY - Tired and rubber-legged after 80 hours one the ice, 40 amateur hockey players raised at least $40,000 to fight cancer and may have stick-handled their way into the Guinness Book of Records on Sunday.
"We're feeling a bit tired but we could go on for another 10 or 20 hours," said organizer Brent Saik, as the final whistle blew at 4 p.m. to end the world's longest outdoor hockey game, which began Thursday at about 7 a.m.
"But the important part is that we're raising money for cancer research and we know that cancer can be beaten."
Their efforts raised more than $40,000 for the Cross Cancer Institute.
"We've been getting donations from all across North America," Saik said. "We're ecstatic with the way this has taken off."
The game was played on an outdoor rink on Saik's acreage east of Sherwood Park. The players, 40 friends whose families had been touched by cancer, played in hour-long shifts.
They took rest breaks in the makeshift dressing room in the garage and dips in a hot tub. All were men.
They were split into two teams -- one wearing white jerseys and the other wearing blue. Dressed in full equipment, they followed NHL rules, with five attackers and a goalie on each side, and kept physical contact to a minimum.
The blue team defeated the white team by a score of 649 to 605.
The final tally for the amount raised won't be known until later this week.
But the team's record is already being challenged by a group of Grade 12 students in St. Albert.
The graduation class of Bellerose high school began their game at 2 p.m. Friday and will have to play until 10 tonight to match the record.
Brandon Jansen, a 17-year-old Grade 12 student, said they're planning on playing until 12:45 a. m. Tuesday.
"We've been discussing among ourselves whether we should just tie the record or try to beat it," he said late Sunday. "The consensus seems to be that we should go for the record. Some of the guys from the Sherwood Park game are here and are encouraging us to go for it. They're being real supportive."
The students -- 32 boys and two girls -- are raising money to leave a legacy to their school and the community. They have raised $7,000 so far, which they are considering using to refurbish the school gym and to plant trees.
Saik, 34, the optometrist for the Edmonton Oilers and founder of the Alberta Sports Vision Institute, organized the game as part of his ongoing efforts to raise money for cancer research. He organizes fundraising golf tournaments and baseball games in the summer.
His father, Terry, died of colon cancer nine years ago and his wife Susan is battling lymphoma, cancer of the lymph glands.
"This has been very overwhelming and touching," said Susan, cradling their one-year-old daughter Angelica Hope. "We are so grateful for all the support everyone has given."
Saik registered the game with Guinness World Records in London, England, and now has to file the certified paperwork to make the record official. The previous record for a hockey game was 69 hours.
They originally planned to play for 72 hours.
"Once we got going, we decided to keep on playing," Saik said. He added they didn't stretch their game out by eight hours to outlast the St. Albert youths, whose game was originally set to run 76 hours.
"What's important for us is to raise money to beat cancer," he said.
Source: Edmonton Journal