Ten days of stitches, frostbite and fluctuating temperatures have come to an end, as 39 men and one woman achieved a new record for the world’s longest hockey game.
The fourth game in support of the Alberta Cancer Foundation wrapped up today around 12:30 p.m. – after 241 hours of hockey at Saiker’s Acres, just east of Sherwood Park.
The goal of the 40 players was to raise $1 million, but they came up just short at $870,000.
“People always ask us how hard this has been, but facing cancer is the tough part,” organizer Brent Saik said in a release. “What we’re doing is easy compared to that. When it starts getting a bit tough, we think of the people we’ve lost.”
Dr. Sandy McEwan, director of medical oncology at the Cross Cancer Institute, broke down the 241 hours, explaining that is the same amount of time it would take to treat 1,206 patients on a linear accelerator, which is what the funds will go towards purchasing. Linear accelerators are used in radiation therapy at the Cross Cancer Institute, which has ten 10, but one needs to be replaced every year.
“(It’s) a really critical, fundamental piece of equipment for treating patients with cancer,” said McEwan.
Alberta Health Services will match dollar for dollar the amount that was raised, and it is likely that organizers and volunteers will find ways to reach their $1 million goal.
This was the fourth time the game has been played. Organizer Brent Saik started it in 2003 in honour of his father Terry, who died in 1994. The 80-hour game raised $150,000 for a gene analyzer used in pediatric cancer care at the Cross Cancer Institute.
During the planning for that game, Saik’s wife Susan was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She died in June 2003. Another game was organized in 2005 in her memory, and $350,000 was raised for a Microarray Platform at the Cross Cancer Institute.
In 2008, with the help of Ledcor, the group raised $560,000 to help the Alberta Cancer Foundation purchase a confocal microscope, also for the Cross Cancer Institute.
“We are so inspired by the 40 players who have been skating day and night on a few hours of sleep to raise money for the Alberta Cancer Foundation,” foundation CEO Linda Mickeson said in a release. “Their commitment allows Albertans access to the best equipment possible, as soon as possible. This technology provides enhanced care to cancer patients receiving radiation and helps ease the healthcare system.”