At six in the morning on Monday, the ice hockey game between the Esperanza and Cura teams ended. The meeting took place on an outdoor track in Sherwood Park, a suburb of Edmonton (capital of the Canadian province of Alberta). The bulky final score, 2,649 to 2,528 in favor of Esperanza, was the least of it. For the players, the important thing was to achieve a new world record: 252 consecutive hours of actions with skates and poles in the open; 60 minutes longer than the previous record. Also with the feat they managed to raise 1.8 million Canadian dollars (about 1.4 million US dollars) in donations for an oncology research fund at the University of Calgary.
Brent Saik, an optometrist in love with this sport and who had lost his father and wife to cancer, founded this event in 2003 called The longest hockey game in the world. In its first edition, the record achieved was 80 uninterrupted hours; donations were around 150,000 Canadian dollars (118,000 dollars from the neighboring country). In 2018, the sixth edition of the match that is held every three years, $ 1.2 million was raised after 251 hours of action on the ice.
Sanitary measures in the wake of the pandemic put this year’s game in doubt. However, the provincial authorities decided to give the green light under certain criteria. The players had to respect a prior quarantine and undergo daily tests for covid-19, but the stands were empty due to the provisions that prohibit public at events. “It was just amazing. We have never raised so much money, “Brent Saik told the newspaper The Edmonton Sun. “We have succeeded without allowing people to be present,” he added. Residents of the area could only support by honking their car horns. Donations were made through the internet; some of this support came from the United States.
In total, 40 players participated in the match, organizing themselves by turns. This year, the cold bit more than usual on the physique of these athletes and made a dent in their equipment. For days, temperatures hovered around -45 degrees Celsius, taking into account the wind chill. “Usually we have to deal with two or three days of freezing weather. But it has never lasted from start to finish. It has been the same all day and all night. It’s just been cold, cold, cold, ”Saik commented.
Jason Kenney, Prime Minister of Alberta, held at Twitter the feat carried out between the 4th and the 15th of this month of February. “Congratulations to everyone involved in the longest hockey game in the world!” He wrote, underlining both the effort of the players and the work of some 750 volunteers in different tasks. As dictated by its regulations, the Guinness Book must carry out certain verifications before approving this new brand. The organizers of the meeting have already set their sights on 2024, aiming at a new record of permanence on the snow slope and an increase in donations for cancer research. It is hardly surprising that the owners of this sports brand are Canadians. If soccer unleashes passions in Argentina and cricket draws crowds in India, there is no country in the world with more fans of ice hockey than the maple leaf.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.