It’s a big undertaking and a big change for an Edmonton-area fundraiser. The world’s longest games have raised more than $5 million for the Cross Cancer Institute since 2003.
But this year, the hockey event was up in the air.
“Everyone’s hesitant, I know the players and volunteers are because they’re scared at home they don’t want to be that person,” The World’s Longest Hockey Game organizer Brent Saik said.
But on Thursday, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw confirmed the game will go on.
“There was a determination that it was in the public interest and that since the first criteria could be met by the multiple layers or rigorous protocols, we did decide to grant an exemption to this particular event,” Doctor Deena Hinshaw said.
In previous years the hockey fundraiser welcomed hundreds of people on site, but organizers had to create a bubble with strict provincial protocols in order to hold the 10-day event this year.
“Our first step in the process was every player to get swabbed and now we’re in full isolation at home,” Hockey player Andrew Buchanan said.
After the 40 players wrap up their week in isolation, they then move to the bubble location, where individual trailers await them.
“If you’re not on the ice, you’re going to be in isolation in your trailer. So basically you’re on the ice playing or you’re in your trailer sleeping for the entire event,” Buchanan said.
Saik said there will be no spectators and referees will be in the stands instead of on the ice.
He added that players will receive a daily PCR COVID-19 test, which is a requirement that typically costs around $150,000 but is being donated by Dynalife.
“If they didn’t do that, we don’t play,” Saik said.
Buchannan said despite fears of contracted COVD-19, he couldn’t turn down the opportunity to honour fellow fire fighter Thomas Haydon who died of pancreatic cancer in 2018.
“When I got invited to this event I couldn’t think of a better person, a better teammate, a better captain and an amazing father to dedicate this game to,” Buchanan said.
People are welcome to drive by the event to show their support.
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