Street hockey players go after another record

Goalie Dylan Howard makes a save on teammate Kal Beveridge during practice Wednesday night at the Lions Sports Centre lacrosse box on Wall Street. - GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin
Goalie Dylan Howard makes a save on teammate Kal Beveridge during practice Wednesday night at the Lions Sports Centre lacrosse box on Wall Street.
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

It’s not about who wins, who scores the goals or who makes the highlight reel. This type of hockey takes a totally different mindset.

Nanaimo’s Youth Sticking Together group is getting ready to make another Guinness World Records attempt this week at the Quality Foods World’s Longest Street Hockey Game.

The group set the record for longest indoor hockey game last summer, playing for 50 and a half hours.

This year’s challenge is more significant – the teams will try to play for 105 hours, 17 minutes.

Preparations are going well, said Tali Campbell, the event organizer.

“The players have been practising, they’ve been gathering together,” he said. “This is the closest the guys have ever been – whether it’s, ‘Hey, I need a stick,’ ‘Hey, I can’t get a ride to practice,’ they’ve really bonded.”

A lot of the players have been with Youth Sticking Together since the start. There was a failed attempt at the outdoor record in 2012, when the decision was made to call it quits after 50 hours.

So for some of the guys, this year’s attempt offers “redemption” for two years ago, said Kal Beveridge, one of the players.

There’s also the desire to replicate the feeling from last summer’s successful attempt.

“It was pretty amazing,” Beveridge said. “It was probably the best thing I’ve ever done in my life, to be a part of the group and to be able to achieve that.”

Campbell said the players have experience now and know what it will take – determination, heart, soul, pride and passion.

“I’ve seen a team come together in playoff situations, I’ve seen a team come together in big games, overtimes, but I’ve never seen a team come together like this,” he said. “It’s [about trying] to do better and be a brotherhood. Can they do it? Absolutely.”

The players will need to do their part to manage the game, being respectful of one another and avoiding high-sticking and bodychecking.

“You just try to pace yourself as you go and then when you [have] your shift off, you just try and get as much rest as possible,” Beveridge said.

The 40 players will be split into two squads – Team University Village Mall and Team Coastal Community Credit Union – and play six-on-six, including goalies. If the ball goes out of play or there’s an injury, the play can only be paused for a matter of seconds.

It will be a tough slog to play for 105 hours, maybe in the hot sun, maybe in the rain, and definitely during the wee hours.

Campbell hopes the community will come out to support the record chasers at any hour of day or night.

“It’s all about cheering these guys on, because these guys are putting everything they have on the line for it,” he said.

Organizers hope to garner donations for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Vancouver Island, Canuck Place children’s hospice and Victoria’s Topaz Box revitalization project.

GAME ON … The game will be played at the Lions Sports Centre lacrosse box next to the Nanaimo Curling Centre. Faceoff is Friday (Aug. 8) at 8 a.m. and players hope to break the record on Aug. 12 at 5:17 p.m.

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