CALGARY- After months of preparation, the countdown is on for the world’s longest hockey game.
The puck drops at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday at the Chestermere Recreation Centre, in a marathon game that will put 40 players to the test—both physically and mentally.
Money raised will go the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Alberta flood relief and Samuel’s Ride for Rescue.
“The kids get you through the game,” says organizer and player Alex Halat. “The game is almost insignificant—we’ve all played hockey—we’re using it as unique way of raising money.”
Two years ago, Halat was one of 40 men who set a new Guinness world record in a game that lasted a gruelling 246 hours. The marathon raised $1.5 million for the pediatric cancer ward at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
This year, the Hockey Marathon for the Kids hopes to set a new record for the world’s longest hockey game at 248 hours, with a fundraising goal of more than $2 million.
The players have been training for seven months.
“26 players are back from the first game,” says Halat. “Some aren’t back because of injuries; some guys‘ feet have never recovered.”
Despite his experience, Hayat says physically, it won’t be any easier.
“How ready can you be when you are going to be hit by a one ton truck? That’s what your body feels like when it’s over. After the last marathon, I didn’t feel my toes for seven months afterwards.”
During the game, players will be in a rotation of four hours on the ice and four hours off. Every second day, they will play in an eight hour rotation.
Halat says the fatigue can be overwhelming.
“Your biggest fear is when you close your eyes, you’re not going to wake up.”
However, the toughest challenge is mental.
“Your emotions are going to get the best of you. I am an ex-fighter and I don’t remember crying as much as I did during those 10 days. When you sit on the bench and a little girl comes up to you and she’s had seven brain surgeries…the kids get you through the game. The physical injuries are insignificant.”
Click here to donate to the Hockey Marathon for the Kids.
Follow the action on our live blog.