Bruised, battered and bone-tired, 40 hockey players skated into history last night after smashing the record for the world's longest hockey game. And they're still on the ice.
"It feels really good," said goalie John Sorensen, an Edmonton city cop. "Just another stepping stone to the end."
Playing the game of shinny at an acreage southeast of Edmonton, they shot past the 203-hour record at 11:13 p.m. with a fireworks display and live music.
They'll play until noon tomorrow, when they'll finally get a chance to rest and heal their blisters, bumps and bruises.
When asked about the heroic output of stamina, Sorensen said they simply did what they could to help cancer research.
"We don't want to put the word heroic there because the people that have to go through chemotherapy, those are the real heroes," he said. "Especially the kids."
The first 80 hours seemed to go quicker than their last shot at the record, but as injuries began to pile up and they had their doubts about the record, he said. Still, they pressed on.
"At the end of the day, to do it you have to have a reason," said organizer and goalie Brent Saik.
"Everybody has to have some sort of deep, emotional attachment to what you're doing, no matter if you're doing pond hockey for 10 straight days.
"You have to have an intense amount of passion for something and everybody out there, unfortunately, has an intense amount of passion for curing cancer. It's not that hard to do." Saik lost his father and wife to cancer.
Bonded by determination, the players took to the ice at Saik's acreage on Feb. 11 with the goal of not only setting the record, but smashing it with 240 hours of straight play.
"It feels like we've been here for a long time," laughed player Scott Shaw, saying the experience reminded him of the time loop in the Bill Murray comedy Groundhog Day.
"You wake up, you go put your skates on, you go play for two or four hours, you go have a bit to eat, you go to sleep, you get up, you put your skates back on ... "
On Friday the mother of a man who died of cancer earlier in the week dropped by and contributed donations from mourners to the game's cancer research fund, Saik said.
"We had 40 guys crying," he said. "His picture is hanging in the players' bench right now. As much as we're playing for everybody else, I told her, 'We'll play today for him.'"
The group aims to raise $200,000 for cancer research.