Even chemo can’t stop volunteers at record-setting hockey game

WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton’s Colin Hackett talks to Kevin Karius about refereeing and getting chemotherapy at the same time.

EDMONTON — Colin Hackett doesn’t ever let cancer treatment get in the way.

Even as he refereed at the World’s Longest Hockey Game Thursday, a little device in a pouch at his waist pumped chemotherapy drugs through his system.

“You just live your life,” said the 34-year-old, who was diagnosed with stage-four colon cancer four months ago. “You just do it, what other choice do you have?”

This week marks his fourth round of chemo. He still has 26 rounds left and he’s using the time off from his teaching job at Centre High to focus on upcoming visits to endurance races, where he’ll talk to young athletes about the importance of cancer screening.

Oh, and he plans to do three Ironman triathlons this year, the first on June 28.

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Colin Hackett with three of his four children.
Colin Hackett during one of his Ironman races.
Colin Hackett with a few of his biggest fans at an Ironman race.

“I want people to see that…cancer doesn’t stop your life. It’s a part of your life but it doesn’t have to take it over necessarily.”

The hockey game, at Saiker’s Acres east of Sherwood Park, is a fundraiser for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. And like Hackett, many of the players, volunteers and spectators have a personal connection to the cause.

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“It’s not often you can contribute to something that’s going to benefit you directly,” he explained. “The Cross Cancer’s an amazing place and that’s who’s going to save me.”

Hackett’s wife, who brought the youngest of the couple’s four children to the rink, said she couldn’t be more proud.

“He was just grinning from ear to ear out there,” said Kimberley Palsat. “He’s been off for most of the season because of his surgery. It was so nice to see him so happy and in his element.

“He loves hockey and it’s such a passion for him so you can’t put two better things together for him. Hockey and the Cancer Foundation.”

IN PHOTOS: World’s Longest Hockey Game at Saiker’s Acres

You can follow Hackett’s journey on his blog, “Animo” means “keep going” in Spanish, something he’s trying his best to do.

WATCH: Margeaux Morin has more on Hackett’s journey

The World’s Longest Hockey Game has raised more than $2.1 million since 2003. Money raised this year will help pay for a PET-MR scanner for the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton. The piece of equipment helps doctors and researchers understand cancer behaviour, as well as improve radiation therapy.

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People are encouraged to come out to support the players until the ten-day game wraps up on Monday.

Directions: Take Wye Road east from Sherwood Park towards Ardrossan. Turn south on Range Road 220, you will see a Laughing Llama gas station. Continue south for about 2 kilometres. The entrance to Saiker’s Acres will be on your left, with signs directing you to the parking area.

With files from Kevin Karius, Global News

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