They didn’t break a record, but they made it to a milestone.
The Save-On-Foods Longest Street Hockey game ended at about 5 a.m. on Sunday morning at the 50-hour mark, almost halfway to the world record of 105 hours. The final score was 855-804 with the University Village team coming back to defeat the CUPE B.C. squad.
Event organizer Tali Campbell said the teams were still feeling confident about breaking the record as of Saturday night, but then three players were hurt in quick succession and roster numbers started to dwindle.
“We had no subs. These players were getting injured. We had someone with a broken ankle, somebody got stitches last night,” Campbell said.
So his Youth Sticking Together board of directors held an impromptu meeting outside the Nanaimo Curling Centre lacrosse box and decided to call it quits at 50 hours.
“There were tears, there were stressful moments but for the health and safety of everyone it was the right call to make,” Campbell said.
The game ended up being the second-longest street hockey game ever, and as Campbell pointed out, it’s the longest street hockey game ever played by youths.
“Fifty hours is a long time. No NHL player getting paid millions could do this. But youth put their minds to it, put their hearts towards it, their dedication, and they’ve done it,” he said. “We may not have got the record but we’ve got a milestone.
“What brought a tear to my eye is when there was a meeting afterwards and the first question the players asked, is ‘can we do this next year?’ And of course we’re going to do this next year.”
Nate Karod, one of the players, said the teams were wearing down by the 50-hour mark, but said they were still finding the energy to continue.
“Easily we could have done it,” Karod said. “If we had a couple more players we would have hung in there and kept going and broken it for sure.”
Even though the world record attempt fell short, Karod said he had a “hell of a time” playing, in a good way.
“I’d do it in a heartbeat again,” he said. “Next week.”
Forty players started the game early Friday morning and that is the maximum number of participants as stipulated by Guinness World Records. But Campbell said his group will be better prepared next time and will try to have athletic therapists and other medical personnel on site, for example.
For now, the players are still limping, but they’re proud of what they were able to accomplish. At game’s end they gathered on the court for a playing of Queen’s “We Are the Champions”.
“They’re sore,” Campbell said. “But these aches and pains are going to go away and these memories will never be forgotten.”
GAME OVER … Players, volunteers and sponsors are inviting everyone to a community barbecue tonight (July 1) at 5 p.m. outside the Nanaimo Curling Centre. The dinner is by donation, in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Vancouver Island, Crimson Coast Dance Society and the Nanaimo Ball Hockey League.