BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The call came on New Year's Day, 2021. A call Aaron Mentkowski had been waiting on for weeks.
It was from Amy and Mike Lesakowski, the creators of the 11 Day Power Play, and they were announcing who made the team this year.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event underwent significant changes. To make the team, hockey players first had to apply to be one of the 40 who will ultimately play in November this year.
Why 40 players? The original 11 Day Power Play had 40 skaters, and those skaters had the first option to participate in the 11 Day hockey game again.
Of those 40, 22 chose to play again, leaving 18 spots up for grabs.
A zoom interview was then set up in December with the applicants to pick those 18 players.
So when January 1 rolled around, and Aaron received the call letting him know he was in, he was thrilled!
After getting the news, Aaron turned his efforts to raising money for the 11 Day Power Play. Proceeds of the event support cutting-edge cancer research and wellness programs at Roswell Park, Make-A-Wish WNY, Camp Good Days and Special Times, and Oishei Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Program.
Aaron is committing to raising $15,000 for this great cause, and to do so, he is holding a Virtual Meat Raffle on Friday, February 12.
The raffle will also have prizes that include an autographed Jack Eichel stick, Jim Kelly Hall of Fame autographed picture, a 1992-93 football signed by 33 members of the Super Bowl Bills team, and several more items.
The 11 Day Power Play, Inc. was co-founded by Mike and Amy Lesakowski in 2016, eight years after Amy was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer at 35 years old.
Because the Lesakowskis are the parents of three small children, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center made sure Amy’s treatment was aggressive from the start. Including immunotherapy fresh off clinical trials and an infusion still in a clinical trial.
Her treatment was a success.