BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The third annual 11 Day Power Play, a 264-hour non-stop hockey competition which raises money for local cancer foundations in Western New York, kicked off Friday, July 5 at 6 A.M. The 11-day hockey competition will continue until July 15 at noon.
More than 2,500 men, women, and children of various ages are participating in this event.
"We have players from California, Arizona, Maryland, Canada, Michigan, and I just met a gentlemen yesterday from Tokoyo, Japan," organizer Mike Lesakowski said.
Among the non-natives are former Sabres players. Those include: Jay McKee, Michael Peca, Andrew Peters, Patrick Kaleta, Brian Gionta, Martin Biron, and more. Some professional women's ice hockey players from the Buffalo Beauts are playing as well.
"It's really fun to have some of the local celebrities play and it's a thrill for some of the younger kids and even the adults to play against those guys," Lesakowski said.
The Power Play event started back in 2017 with only 40 players. The goal was to set the world record for the longest hockey game ever played. That goal was achieved.
"The first event was a record and with this event we just piggy backed off of that," Lesakowski said.
The only difference between the first 11 Day Power Play and the current one is that there are teams and every three to four hours they switch.
"You don't play hockey for three and four hours at a time and when we talked to the people about the community shift, some people weren't sure they could do it," Lesakowski said. "But they saw what we had gone through the year before and they said, 'well these guys just did this 20 times over 11 days. I can certainly play hockey for four hours.'"
A mantra for the original 40 players is anything is possible and that continues to prove true. Already, the organizers have raised over $1 million for cancer research.
The event takes place on the sixth floor of the Harbor Center and attendance is free. Donations to the cause can be made on the website 11daypowerplay.com.