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Hockey marathon raises almost $1M for Children’s Hospital Foundation

Forty skaters were on the ice at the Chestermere Recreation Centre for 261 hours

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After 261 hours on the ice, a group of 40 Albertans officially hold the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest hockey game — all to make a difference in the lives of children with cancer.

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And they have the bruises and broken bones to show for it.

“Guys discovered body parts they didn’t even know they had,” said organizer and team captain Alex Halat, still on his skates at the Chestermere Recreation Centre mingling with supporters as the Hockey Marathon fundraiser for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation came to a close on Monday evening.

To break the record by official Guinness Book of World Records standards, the same 40 players had to play the full 261 hours — almost a full NHL season’s worth of ice-time per player — besting the 252-hour record set in Buffalo in 2021 and their own previous world record of 248 set in 2014. The entire event had to be videotaped and every player had to remain in the facility for the entire stretch. They ate, slept and essentially lived at the Chestermere Recreation Centre from March 31 to April 11.

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The Hockey Marathon for the Kids at the Chestermere Rec Centre came to an end with a new world record and $850,000 dollars raised for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation in Chestermere on Monday, April 11, 2022.
The Hockey Marathon for the Kids at the Chestermere Rec Centre came to an end with a new world record and $850,000 dollars raised for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation in Chestermere on Monday, April 11, 2022. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

An impressive feat, no doubt. But even more amazing is the reason they did it: when the horn blew and the almost 11-day slog came to an end, Team Hope and Team Cure presented an $850,000-cheque that will directly aid children with cancer in Alberta. With donations still coming in, Halat said he expected the total amount of cash raised to top their $1-million goal by the end of the night.

“They did it for the kids and families at the Alberta Children’s Hospital to ensure that our children receive the very best possible care,” said Saifa Koonar, the president and CEO of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“We’re going to be able to use these funds to support kids with cancer and advance our work in childhood cancer research so that we can find better treatments, cures.”

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This is the third Hockey Marathon hosted in Chestermere and the third Guinness World Record for Halat and five others who have participated each time they were called upon. In total, the three events have raised about $4 million for the Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“I spent about a month of my life in this building,” said Kyle Fagnan, who participated in 2012, 2014 and 2022.

“Once this is all said and done, a few months down the road, we actually go visit the Alberta Children’s Hospital and we actually get to see where the money that we raised directly impacted them … So that’s huge.”

Players will likely be on the mend for a few weeks as their injuries begin to become more apparent after a couple hours out of their skates. To this point, what’s kept them going is the kids they’re working to support.

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“Seeing the kids come in battling cancer and recovering from cancer, it makes all your pains go away,” Halat said of the visits from Alberta Children’s Hospital patients throughout the marathon.

“Every guy here is injured or hurt; we’d do it again if it meant we could get a kid home.”

The Hockey Marathon for the Kids at the Chestermere Rec Centre came to an end with a new world record and $850,000 dollars raised for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation in Chestermere on Monday, April 11, 2022.
The Hockey Marathon for the Kids at the Chestermere Rec Centre came to an end with a new world record and $850,000 dollars raised for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation in Chestermere on Monday, April 11, 2022. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

For now, however, it’s time for a rest.

“It’s time to go home and get back to my family,” said Halat. “But who knows? We’re already talking about maybe doing it again in a few years.”

mrodriguez@postmedia.com

Twitter: @michaelrdrguez


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