The 11-Day Power Play, which made history in 2017 while raising more than $1 million for cancer research, is planning to return in 2018. But this time, members of the public will be encouraged to lace up their skates, pick up their sticks and take their turns in another 11-day hockey game.
In late June and early July 2017, 40 men took turns continuing what would become a world record-setting longest regulation hockey game. Their bigger goal was to raise money for cancer. They cleared a million-dollar goal in the earliest days of that game.
The people behind the 11-Day Power Play have decided to do it again. This time, as co-founder Mike Lesakowski explained, they'll open up the game to more participants from the public.
"One of the reasons for the current idea is a lot of people were reaching out, asking us if they could participate, not really knowing that being a participant was all eleven days," Lesakowski said. "Taking it to a new level, we wanted to open it up and, even though it was grueling then, it'll be a lot less grueling with more people playing in shifts. It's going to be fun."
It was indeed a physically and emotionally grueling challenge for the original participants, who spent months in advance training both on the ice and off of it to prepare for the event. They'll be back for the sequel, captaining their own teams. Others who sign up will not be subject to the same level of play as the 2017 participants but there will be expectations.
"For every team we're going to establish a fundraising goal," Lesakowski said. "Every team will be asked to play a four-hour shift."
Every player who took part in the original event explained they were motivated to join because cancer had touched their lives, whether it was losing friends or loved ones or watching people close to them battle the illness. Lesakowski lost his mother to cancer while his wife, Amy, survived her own bout with the illness.
"She's great and healthy as ever," Lesakowski said of Amy, who heads the not-for-profit organization formed to oversee the 11-Day Power Play's operations. "Not only was she an inspiration for this, she worked on it as much, if not more than anybody as part of this whole event, myself included. It's really near and dear to both of us."
Plans remain to be finalized but the 2018 edition of the 11-Day Power Play is expected to begin on or around June 21 in HarborCenter, on the same rink where the historic 2017 game was played.