11 Day Power Play is personal for WBFO reporter

Jul 8, 2019

A non-stop, around-the-clock hockey game that began Friday continues Monday morning at HarborCenter. WBFO's Michael Mroziak has covered the 11 Day Power Play its first two years, beginning in 2017. This year, to cover the third-annual cancer-fundraising event from a different angle, Michael has been quietly preparing and will play in one of the shifts. Here is his story on getting ready for the event.

For the past several Friday evenings, skaters of various ages have met at the Bud Bakewell Ice Rink in Buffalo's Riverside neighborhood for often intensive hockey sessions. Leading these sessions was David Travers, one of the original 40 participants in the 2017 11 Day Power Play.

This year's community shifts have been cut to three hours each to accommodate more participants. However Travers, who along with the original 40 players trained for a year in advance for their record-setting game, said three hours still will not be an easy task.

A stick used by WBFO's Michael Mroziak during the 11 Day Power Play. As he explained in a message: "The pink represents my mother's breast cancer bout (which she beat), the periwinkle represents my dad's unsuccessful battle with esophageal cancer (gone 10 years August)."
Credit Twitter/@MrozWBFO / WBFO News

"You can't just hit this thing cold because, even though, you know, you say, 'well, these guys did this for 11 days straight,' that was ridiculous to begin with and to do anything for three hours from a physical activity perspective is hard," Travers said, "so you've got to skate and you've got to do things off the ice to prepare yourself for three hours. There's no question."

As part of the program, 11 Day Power Play organizers secure assistance for players on game day. Executive Director Amy Lesakowski said associates from Excelsior Orthopedics work directly with players to make sure they are properly fit for their shift.

"We have sent out preparation lists to our players - what to eat, what to drink, what to do the first few days before they arrive  - and I think that's something that the players are taking seriously. They need to," Lesakowski said. "Hydration is key." 

The original players took on this project to raise money for cancer research and for the third straight year, have raised more than $1 million. Travers told WBFO, every participant has been touched by cancer in one way or another. For WBFO's Michael Mroziak, his mother survived breast cancer but his father lost his battle with esophageal cancer.

WBFO will be collecting stories from fellow players taking part in Monday morning's 11 Day Power Play shift at HarborCenter. Look for those stories later today. You can also watch a live feed of game play and cheer on Michael Mroziak during his shift from 9am-noon here.