'It's all for cancer': Alberta players on verge of new longest hockey game world record
After playing hockey for 10 days straight, Terry Martin's feet are aching and swollen.
He has bruises on his toes from all the hours he's spent skating on the outdoor ice rink on an acreage east of Sherwood Park, where the World's Longest Hockey Game will come to an end on Monday night.
"The hard part was in the middle, I think," Martin said Monday morning before his final long shift. "Once you get through that, it's easy,"
Martin is one of 40 players attempting to set a new world record for longest hockey game, while fundraising for cancer research.
When the final whistle blows, the players will have been scrimmaging at Saiker's Acres for more than 252 hours — and are hoping to have raised $2 million. With about 12 hours to go, they were about about halfway there.
Brent Saik, the owner of Saiker's Acres and the event's organizer, said that during the final few hours of play, it's important for the players to take it easy.
"Right now is when you can get lots of injuries," said Saik. "Your brain's telling you what to do to your legs, but your legs aren't doing what your brain's telling you, so it's easy to fall and get hurt. Everybody knows that."
Saik and many of the players know it because this isn't the first time they've played hockey for more than a week on end.
Saik founded the event in 2003. The main goal then, as now, was raising money for cancer. This year marks the sixth time the game has been played. A new world record has been set with each one.
The players, who play for four to five hours and then take a break of about the same length before hitting the ice again, are constantly tired. But they are fuelled by the stories of the cancer patients and their families who come out to support them.
Martin, who also played in the 2011 edition of the event, was particularly touched when a father told him that the World's Longest Hockey Game prolonged his child's life.
"There's this one story," Martin said. "A guy came in and he told us his kid had lived two more years because of a machine we bought earlier in one of the games."
Reid Henriksen, one of the few World's Longest Hockey Game rookies this year, is grateful to be part of the event for reasons such as that.
"The world record, it's good to get it," Henriksen said. "But that's the minor part of all this, what we're doing it for. It's all for cancer."