Hockey marathon bigger and better

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:47 PM ET

The first three attempts were accepted into the Guinness World Book of Records.

This one? Might be a problem.

Too many men on the ice.

The fourth edition of the World’s Longest Hockey Game, which appeared to establish yet another record at 242 hours at Saiker’s Acres east of Sherwood Park Monday, may have to have an asterisk.

The fact is, the first female ever to play in the game was playing pregnant. Jennelle Trenchuk had a baby on board.

Mind you, she wasn’t hiding it from anybody. The Guinness people will easily be able to spot her on the miles of video tape documentation of the game. She’s No. 15. Her name bar read: “PLUS ONE.”

“I’m very early,” said the fiancee of game inspiration and driving force Dr. Brent Saik. “Seven weeks.”

It seems like this game lasts that long when you play it.

“It’s amazing how these guys keep going, especially during the toughest part between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.,” she said, amazed to hang in there despite doctors orders “to get off the ice when I’m tired.”

Will she do it again? She said ask her in a couple years.

This game is very much like a pregnancy. That’s why it’s not an annual. It takes you a while to recover and decide that it’s worth it to go through all over again.

Like goaltender John Sorenson.

He swore in 2008, after he finished his third one, that no way would he ever come back and do this again.

A 41-year-old city cop, Sorenson’s quote-unquote in this column after the final whistle went was: “This is my last one. It’s so good to be over.”

But there he was posing with the other 39 players for the traditional game over pictures.

“This time I’m retiring for sure,” said a goalie in the game in which the final score was White 2,092, Blue 2,012. and the shots on goal – 11,132 to 7,566 for the winners, give or take a few they might have missed.

“Way too many shots.”

Seven of these guys have played in all four games in which 55-year-old Larry Steel of Sherwood Park was the oldest player on the ice.

“In a way it almost seems to be getting easier,” said four-time player Kevin Karius, the Global sportscaster.

“You sleep two or three hours and go out and play again. After you’ve done this a few times you realize half the battle is taking an hour to dress properly.”

Exactly, said another four-timer, Jouni Nieminen, the hockey foreign correspondent of the Finland newspaper Helsinki Sanomat.

“It’s way better now. The first time we didn’t know what we were doing. We weren’t dressed the way we should have been dressed, didn’t really have the places to sleep, didn’t have the meals like we did this year, didn’t have the massage therapists …”

It’s such a contrast coming off covering the Heritage Classic in Calgary to go to this game, featuring regular Joes and Moes, who raised a combined total of $1.2 million in the first three games, in their attempt to raise $1 million this time for linear accelerator machines for the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton and the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary.

The only score that matters is the $870,000 they raised.

I go back to when Saik’s wife, who had just delivered him a young daughter, Angelica, was still alive, diagnosed with terminal cancer.

“You remember when you first interviewed me and I said ‘We’re going for $20,000’ and you said ‘Set the bar high,’ and I said ‘OK. write $50,000?’ ” said Saik.

You’d think this would get old. But it doesn’t. It keeps getting bigger and better … and longer.

In some ways it’s the same story, even the same scene every year at Saik’s NHL-size backyard rink as about 1,000 people line the snowbanks and sit in the stands as the game ends and family and friends end up on the ice taking pictures, exhausted with their very real heroes.

But it’s always a feel-good place to be.

Saik summed it up as he spoke to the crowd when it was over.

“The game never ends. We’ll always be here. This event is going to keep going and we’ll keep raising money, I promise. We’ve still got money coming in so we will be very close to our goal. I apologize to the people who still might have to wait a little longer for this machine, but as soon as we can, we’re going to get it in there.”

Saik then looked around at the scene and laughed.

“We’ll see you again in a few years. Now get off my property. You’ve got an hour before I call the cops.”

Follow me on Twitter.com/sunterryjones

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos