Hockey fundraiser sets world record and raises over a million dollars for cancer

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(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The longest hockey game in history is officially over. After 251 hours, Mike Lesakowski and his team of 39 other players hung up their skates, wiped the sweat from their eyes and had a chance to reflect on the monumental record that they achieved together.

The 11-day hockey game started as an idea of Lesakowski’s to help raise money for cancer, a disease that took his mother and inflicted his wife. But his initial goal of putting some guys together and raising money for research took off.

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He encouraged each player to raise $5,000 and was pleasantly surprised when one of his players raised over $150,000. Other players pitched in up to $30,000. Over thirty different donors helped Lesakowski not only reach his goal of $500,000 but double the goal. On the final day, the team totaled more than $1.2 million in fundraising money.

“I don’t know what to say right now. I’m very tired. We all are,” Allan Davis, the oldest player on the roster at 65 said to The Augusta Chronicle after the final minute. “This event right here is humbling. The amount of money we raised is unbelievable. But how I am with all of it? I think it’s going to take a few days to sink in.”

Lesakowski has been involved in hockey most of his life and knew that the sport would be the best way for him to contribute to the fight against cancer.  The money that he raised went to The Roswell Park Cancer Institute, a hospital that treated Lesakowski’s wife.

“My wife would have died 10 years ago,” he said to CNN . “She was saved by a clinical trial. It’s because research money went to the drug that saved her.”

Hockey became Lesakowski’s platform to raise money, and his passion for the sport inspired him to create and organize the marathon event. Originally called the 11 Day Power Play, the forty players were broken up into two teams, and everyone played in shifts with six players on the ice at all times, per the Guinness World Record rules.

Players competed in four-and-a-half-hour shifts, resting nine hours in between their games but they remained in the arena for the entire 11-day duration. The players received an additional 10-minute break every hour for the ice at the HarborCenter to be cleaned.

This marathon was no simple challenge for the players as they slept in locker rooms and fought to keep their energy levels high during the duration of the game.

But, in the end, after a final victory lap, the players could call themselves world-record holders, but more importantly, they knew the money they had raised in the event could help save a life.

“For this cause, it’s a small price to pay as opposed to someone going through chemotherapy or any type of cancer,” Kenny Corp of Team White, who led the scoring with scored 267 goals during the marathon that was won by Team Blue, 1,725-1,697, said to “So yes, I would do it again tomorrow.”

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