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Friday, 02 February 2018 07:09

40 periods of hockey in Acadia Valley to raise money for Alberta Cancer Foundation

Written by  Jamie Rieger
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From 2017, the group poses. From 2017, the group poses. Contributed

Players in the upcoming 24-hour Hockey Game in Acadia Valley are probably all getting themselves in shape so they can last the 24 hours from the time the puck drops to the final whistle.


While none will play for the full game, they will be playing about 25 of the 40 periods, so preparation for the game will take more than a few stretches and knee bends. Still, organizer Kent Meers says they'll all be ready.
"Oh, they're always ready, but one of the biggest problems is that the game doesn't start until 6 p.m., so there will be guys taking naps," said Meers.
The players on the two teams will be playing normal five-on-five hockey with straight-time periods, and will be switched off a few at a time over the course of the game.
The 24-hour Hockey Game is being held in conjunction with the World's Longest Hockey Game, an initiative started by Dr. Brent Saik, president of the Alberta Sports Vision Institute, as a way to raise money for cancer research. In 1994, Saik lost his father, Terry to cancer. One of Terry's final wishes was for Brent to carry on the Saik legacy of community support and to continue raising funds for the Alberta Cancer Foundation in support of the Cross Cancer Institute. Brent also lost his wife, Susan to cancer in 2003.
Among other fundraisers, Saik started the World's Longest Hockey Game, which has become one of the most successful fundraisers for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
The connection between Acadia Valley and the World's Longest Hockey Game came when local resident, Roger Didychuk was doing some work for a man in Edmonton who was building an outdoor rink.
"He was working reclamation in Edmonton for a guy who was building an outdoor rink and it turns out that guy was Brent Saik," said Meers.
Acadia Valley held its own version, a 24-hour hockey game in 2015 to raise money locally for Saik's cause.
The community support was far beyond their expectations.
"It was crazy. We started with a goal of $10,000 and we raised $52,000," said Meers, who said the community support and volunteerism is outstanding.
"Now, we have committees to help us. In fact, we have 18 committees to look after it. It's unbelievable. People just want to help."
At the time of this article, Meers had 40 of the 44 players they were looking for and had four goalies, plus refs and he didn't think they would have any problem filling the final four spots.
As well, all participants were required to get a minimum of $300 in pledges, but Meers said that requirement was not a hard rule.
Players are traveling from Medicine Hat and Calgary to participate, but Meers said most have connections to the Acadia Valley area.
"We like to keep it local," he said.
An added incentive at this year's event will be people who don't play hockey will have the opportunity to take part by riding stationary bikes to contribute.
"People want to be involved and not everybody plays hockey. This gives them a way to donate," he said.
Organizers have also been selling mauve-coloured ribbons with their crest for $2 a piece and these will be displayed at the game.
"Every cancer has a colour and mauve is the colour for all cancers," said Meers.
The proceeds from the game goes toward the Terry Fox Research Institute's PROFYLE: A Canadian led group of the top minds in pediatric cancer. Despite advancements in imaging, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments, the mortality rate for childhood cancers remains high at approximately 80 percent.
Each year, 150-200 Alberta children are diagnosed with cancer, 20-30 will relapse or progress and be eligible for the PROFYLE program. The goal of PROFYLE is to support next generation sequencing of DNA obtained from tumours and blood from these children to identify genes, proteins, and signaling pathways and personal therapies for at-risk children.
"The money will go through the Alberta World's Longest Hockey Game for the Alberta Cancer Foundation's program to help kids with cancer," said Meers.
The puck drops at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9 and will last until the final whistle blows at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10.
A dinner will follow at the Community Hall.
Online donations can be made at

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