Hockey Marathon breaks record, raises $1.5 million for sick children
When the buzzer finally sounded to end the World’s Longest Hockey Game, helmets, gloves and hockey sticks went flying as the 40 players celebrated 246 hours of endless gameplay, May 16.
There were smiles on all of their faces, and tears on most, but it was clear that all of them felt the same sense of relief and accomplishment.
The game, which was organized to raise money for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation (ACHF), wrapped up at 6 p.m. at the Chestermere Recreation Centre. It was standing room only as hundreds of spectators filled the stands and lined the boards to be there for the big finale.
Chestermere resident Alex Halat, who organized and played in the game, said he was overwhelmed by the support shown by his community.
“I want to thank the people of Chestermere. I think this game definitely united our community and made it tighter,” he said.
“Everyone who came out to support us and all of the staff here at the recreation centre are second to none. They let us live in their arena for 10-and-a-half days, and there were no issues whatsoever. They were amazing.”
The players, despite their exhaustion and the inevitable blisters on their feet, put on the best show they could for the spectators in the last 60 minutes of the game.
With a few more goals from each team, the total was 4,178 for Team Cure and 3,845 for Team Hope.
In addition to tallying a ton of goals, the marathon game also racked up donations. Shortly after 6 p.m. on May 16, organizers presented a cheque for $1.4 million to the ACHF, but donations continued to come in and in the end, the $1.5 million goal was met and surpassed.
A teary-eyed and hoarse-voiced Halat took to centre ice to thank everyone involved, including the players, volunteers, medical staff, fans and everyone who donated. He said he organized the game for the kids, and that he would do it again if it meant helping them.
“The children are our future….We’re here to help the kids,” he said. “They’re the real winners here.”
Todd Gallant of CTV, who emceed the event, said that with no Canadian teams left in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the marathon game was the next best thing. However, the smiles and tears that resulted from everyone involved proved that it was even better.