40 Alberta athletes pursue world record for longest hockey game

Forty Alberta athletes have been playing hockey for three days straight in pursuit of the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest hockey game.

The 250-hour game is raising money for the Alberta Cancer Foundation

Forty athletes are trying to break the record for the world's longest hockey game, which runs from Feb. 9-19 in Strathcona County. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

Forty Alberta athletes have been playing hockey for three days straight in pursuit of the Guinness World Record for the world's longest hockey game.

The game at Saiker's Acres outdoor rink in Strathcona County, east of Edmonton, will play out for more than 250 hours to raise money for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. The players hope to break the world record.

But the athletes aren't the only people donating their time and sacrificing hours of sleep for the cause.

About 800 volunteers are helping the players push through the 10-day game, said Carrie Creaser, the Fund Development Officer for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

Alberta Cancer Foundation employee Carrie Creaser says recruiting volunteers for the game was easy. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

"It's crazy," she said. "It's a massive amount of people to put something like this on."

Teams of food preppers, medical professionals, Zamboni drivers and referees are supporting the athletes, Creaser said.

Volunteers are also gathering donations and providing musical entertainment for athletes and spectators.

"Every element that you can think of during this hockey game has a volunteer attached to it," Creaser said. "Nobody's getting paid to be here. People are all here out of the kindness of their own heart."

Referees, Zamboni drivers and medical professionals are some of the volunteers helping with the game. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

At least 100 volunteers are on site at a given time. Creaser said it wasn't difficult to recruit such a significant number of people to help with the game.

"I thought it would be a lot harder than it is, to be honest," she said. "This event inspires so many people and it has for quite a few years."

"People step up. The community comes on board. As soon as we need somebody, somebody's there. It's pretty phenomenal."

Helen Griwkowsky is one of the volunteers who supports the athletes throughout the grueling game.

Massage therapist Helen Griwkowsky helps an athlete off shift. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

She supervises the massage therapists, who keep the athletes feeling limber, and as good as they can feel after sleeping in four hour shifts.

"They really like what we do," Griwkowsky said. "And it helps speed the recovery so that they can get back out onto the ice and feeling a little bit better than they would've if we weren't here."

Registered massage therapists from across the province have travelled to Strathcona County to give the athletes a hand, Griwkowsky said.

"The more the merrier," she said. "If you want to come out and you're a massage therapist, we'll welcome you, and the guys will welcome you with open arms."

The longest hockey games have raised $3.4 million for the Alberta Cancer Foundation since they were started. This year's game will wrap up on Feb. 19.