Volume 96, Issue 78
Tuesday, February 18, 2003

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Hockey, hockey and more hockey

ARDROSSAN, Alta. (CP) – Tired and rubbery-legged, 40 amateur hockey players skated and stickhandled their way into the Guinness Book of Records and raised at least $40,000 to fight cancer with a record-setting 80-hour game.

"We're feeling a bit tired, but we could go on for another 10 or 20 hours," organizer Brent Saik said Sunday, as the final whistle blew at 4 p.m. to end the world's longest hockey game, which began Thursday at 7 p.m..

"But the important part is that we're raising money for cancer research and we know that cancer can be beaten."

Their efforts raised at least $40,000 for the Cross Cancer Centre. The final tally won't be known until later in the week.

"We've been getting donations from all across North America," Saik said. "We're ecstatic with the way this has taken off."

Saik, 34, registered the game with Guinness World Records in London and now has to file the certified paperwork to make the record official. The previous record for a hockey game was 69 hours.

The game was played on an outdoor rink on Saik's rural home east of Edmonton.

The players, 40 friends whose families had been touched by cancer, played in hour-long shifts, taking rest breaks in the makeshift dressing room in the garage and taking dips in a hot tub.

They were split into two teams – one wearing white jerseys and the other wearing blue. Dressed in full equipment, they followed NHL rules, with five attackers and a goalie on each side, and kept physical contact to a minimum.

The final score was 650-628 for the Blue team.

Saik, the optometrist for the NHL Edmonton Oilers and founder of the Alberta Sports Vision Institute, said they only planned to play for 72 hours.

"Once we got going, we decided to keep on playing."

Saik's father, Terry, died of colon cancer nine years ago and his wife Susan is battling lymphoma, cancer of the lymph glands.

"This has been very overwhelming and touching," Susan said, cradling their one-year-old daughter Angelica Hope. "We are so grateful for all the support everyone has given."

However, another group is challenging their record – the graduating class at Bellerose Composite high school in St. Albert, Alta., northwest of Edmonton.

The Grade 12 teens began their game at 2 p.m. Friday and are raising money to leave a legacy to the community.

"I don't think I've ever felt so tired, sick or cold before," said Venessa Langhorn, 17, one of two girls on the team.

"I've got bronchitis and I've been taking medication to try to get through, but I don't know how I will make it."

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