Not long after the completion of their second-annual running of a marathon hockey fundraiser, the organizers and operators of the 11 Day Power Play are already looking ahead to a third event next year.
The event captured widespread attention and raised more than one million dollars in 2017 as 40 men, who had trained intensively for several months in advance of the game, skated in shifts to continue a hockey game that ultimately set a new world record. This year's 11-day non-stop hockey game, which ran from July 5 to July 15, welcomed members of the public to form teams and skate in four-hour segments.
The response to the call for players to participate in the "Community Shift" was so swift that many, said executive director and co-founder Amy Lesakowski, had to be turned away.
"It was difficult to say to teams that we were full," she said. "But within those 11 days you can only slot 120 teams, so we couldn't expand it."
Those who filled the time slots included players of various ages and skill levels. Youth and women's teams were among the participants. Mike Lesakowski, who skated in the original running and founded the event with his wife Amy, was asked if this year's players ran into any problems with conditioning, perhaps not training as extensively as the original 40 players.
"No. Some of the guys were players that play all the time, so playing a four-hour shift isn't all that difficult," he replied. "Some players were either older guys, kids or girls or someone that hadn't played a while that wanted to join the team. Some people did have to train a little bit, but it certainly wasn't to the level that we had to prepare last year."
And those players, he added, were inspired to play on behalf of a relative or friend who was battling cancer, is fighting the illness now or perhaps succumbed to it. This year's even raised an estimated $1.25 for cancer research at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center as well as Camp Good Days and Make-A-Wish Western New York.
Registrations for the 2019 event will be taken beginning late this year.