The Hockey Marathon for the Kids is coming back in April 2024 in support of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.
40 athletes will be playing a game of hockey for 10 days straight, 263 hours to raise money for childhood cancer and hopefully earn a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
"NHL rules will apply for the game, so if someone gets hurt, we can't replace them and we can't change teams once the puck drops," explained Alex Halat, organizer for the event.
The player’s feet will swell up to 2 sizes during the game and some players will take up to 1 year to recover from playing the game.
"We've had players that have had to do hip surgery and knee surgery after. So, you know these players put themselves through a lot all in hopes of raising some money to save the life of a child."
Halat explained they have been doing this for around three years and within that time they have raised $5 million. Last year alone they raised $1 million.
"The response thus far has been great from the community. Just had a gentleman today call and he donated 25 grand whereas other people donated 100 bucks, 50 bucks, and 3000 bucks. So, you know, I'm pretty confident we should hit that million mark, but our ultimate goal is to raise $2 million."
Halat said the Guinness World Records side of things is just marketing, the most important part of this game is raising money and awareness for the Children's Hospital and pediatric Cancer Research.
"I had a teammate of mine, Lyall Marshall, and his daughter, Diamond Marshall. Those I remember back in 2011. My brother was battling cancer at the same time, and he is a big and strong individual, so I would not even be able to imagine a 5-year-old going through that. So that's when we called Lyall up and said, hey, listen, let's do something to raise money for cancer."
Halat said this is how the game and raising money initially started but unfortunately Diamond passed away shortly after.
"A few of the players that played in the game were playing for their children as well that were battling cancer and unfortunately, we lost a handful of kids that were related to some of the players shortly after the game."
There are over 102,000 children and families who come through the doors of the Alberta Children’s Hospital every year and each one have a unique story.
"Even in the face of illness or injury, thanks to the generosity of individuals and organizations in our community like Hockey Marathon, more and more of these children have real hope for health and happiness," it said on a Facebook post that Alex Halat wrote.
The funds raised in 2022 supported an important pediatric cancer research program, focused on immunotherapy. By harnessing the power of a patient’s immune system to kill the cancer cells, it aims at finding new and gentler cures for childhood cancer.
In 2024, the funds raised will help more children to access these novel therapies in Calgary, by increasing the number of clinical trials available.
To donate to the cause and for more information visit hockeymarathon.com.
The World's Longest Hockey game is set to be played from April 5 to 16 at the Chestermere Rec Centre.
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