After 10 gruelling days of around-the-clock hockey, the World’s Longest Hockey Game fundraiser at Saiker’s Acres in Strathcona County clocked a staggering 251 hours of game time on Monday night, unofficially setting a new record.
“Please exit in an orderly fashion and get off of my property,” the game’s organizer, Brent Saik, joked to the crowd when the game ended after 251 hours and nine minutes.
People from across the Edmonton area had converged on Saik’s property to cheer on the game.
While officials with Guinness World Records will now be asked to verify the new mark, the 251 hours exceeds the 250 hours, three minutes and 21 seconds played in Buffalo in 2017.
That game currently holds the record for the world’s longest hockey game. Unlike this month’s game east of Edmonton, the Buffalo game was played indoors.
WATCH: It was a gruelling 11 days but the record – unofficially – is back in their hands. Quinn Ohler has more on the hockey hangover and the impact the game will have on those with cancer.
The record is not actually the most important goal the players were reaching for.
The game raised money for the Alberta Cancer Foundation to support the Terry Fox Research Institute’s PROFYLE project. The initiative focuses on gene sequencing and pediatric cancer. Since 2003, the World’s Longest Hockey Game event has raised more than $3.4 million for the cause.
“I’m excited that I know it made a difference,” Saik said of the money raised by the 2018 edition of the event.
“I know I’ve talked to kids that are going to be going through this (cancer) program that’s going to change their lives. It’s very rare in anyone’s world that you can say that.
“This is fun stuff (gesturing towards the NHL-sized hockey rink on his property), but when you break it down, we’re going to make a difference for some children and that makes me, I don’t know, how would you feel?”
The president and CEO of the Alberta Cancer Foundation called the efforts of the players and volunteers inspiring.
“I am so humbled to be part of this process. It’s very moving,” George Andrews said.
“We were all amazed because the guys didn’t want to get off the ice. They didn’t want it to end. It was just so much passion and excitement and joy.
“It inspires hope. Hope for parents and families and people with cancer. It actually inspires hope for the researchers and the doctors and the oncologists because they can see that the community is coming together in supporting them in what they’re trying to do, which is hero work as far as we’re concerned.”
View photos from the last day of the World’s Longest Hockey Game in the gallery below:
All the players involved in the game were playing for someone who affected by or lost a battle with cancer. Saik acknowledged emotions run high at time over the course of the event. He also said it was difficult playing without some of the people involved with previous events.
“This is always tough because, I know it’s hard, and I said it again to the players, I know some people aren’t able to play in this game and that’s really hard on you.”
Watch below: Players take part in the World’s Longest Hockey Game east of Edmonton on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018.
Many families were in attendance on Family Day to show their support for the players, including the Schwabe family from Strathcona County.
“It’s such an awesome cause,” Walter Schwabe said. “It’s fantastic. You just look at all the organization it takes. Two Zambonis and all the food. These guys are so tired after 11 days. It’s an awesome effort.”
The game wouldn’t be possible without dozens of volunteers, including medical professionals.
Eileen Ursuliak, a nurse and an organizer, said her team has dealt with about five toenails that needed drilling to relieve pressure. They’ve also dealt with blisters, torn muscles, aches and fatigue.
“They’re troopers. They won’t give up, even with the injuries,” Ursuliak said.
Matt Siminiuk, one of the players involved in the game, developed a blister on his foot on the first day. Since then, it’s continued to grow in size.
“Yeah, you play through the pain,” Siminiuk said. “Once you have the skates on for an hour or two, they actually feel pretty good.”
Saik said he was impressed by the players’ commitment.
“People that get hurt and bruised and battered to a point where it’s not healthy for them, the highlight to me is that they just keep playing. They don’t quit,” he said.
“They’re here for a reason and that reason is to do what we do out here.”
Food for the 10-day event was donated by local restaurants.
Watch below: On the eleventh day of an epic event taking place east of Edmonton, Oilers head coach Todd McLellan dropped by to offer his support to the players taking part in the World’s Longest Hockey Game and also to pose for some photos with fans.
As of 8 p.m. on Monday, the World’s Longest Hockey Game at Saiker’s Acres had already unofficially raised $861,302.34 for the PROFYLE project. Final donation totals were yet to be announced.
A week into the game, an anonymous donor came forward to say they were “so moved by the inspiring story,” they wanted to match all individual donations to the game. Now, each individual dollar donated will count twice.
“Thank you everybody for embracing it, it means a lot to us,” Saik said. “You keep giving us money and I promise it’s going somewhere special to help children and because of that, we’re going to keep doing stuff.”
Saik said he has no plans to “retire” and that planning has already started for another record attempt.
“I’ve got a lot of games in me. My son’s six, my daughter wants to play soon, so my goal is to play with both of my kids someday.”
Saik added that plans are in the works to play in the World’s Longest Baseball Game.
The World’s Longest Hockey Game ended with fireworks and a large crowd gathering on the ice. The final score was 1,830 for Team Red to 1,692 for Team Blue.