The 11 Day Energy Play: Larger Than Ever

8 minutes read

Her voice sounded a little bit drained, however there’s little doubt her ardour and dedication had been as sturdy as ever. “I believe the continued help of this superb metropolis and simply assembly superb people who wish to be part of the 11 Day Energy Play preserve us energized,” stated Amy Lesakowski, government director and co-founder of the occasion. “We really feel very humbled and grateful to fulfill so many individuals in our neighborhood that wish to do one thing to offer again.”

The occasion – the 11 Day Energy Play – began as a easy, however loopy thought to lift cash to combat most cancers by enjoying a hockey recreation 24 hours per day for 11 straight days. Whereas the sport has advanced yearly, it’s nonetheless pushed by the identical purpose. This yr, the sport might be held July 5-15 at Harborcenter in downtown Buffalo. It’s open to the general public and free to attend.

The Evolution of the 11 Day Energy Play

The unique 11 Day Energy Play recreation in 2017 pitted two groups of 20 males towards each other for 11 straight days. It was grueling, nonstop hockey, performed around-the-clock by 40 common guys. It raised greater than a $1 million and set a Guinness World Report for the longest constantly performed recreation of ice hockey.

11 Day Energy Play breaks the file for the World’s Longest Hockey Sport and raises over $1 million at Harborcenter in Buffalo, NY.
July three, 2017
(Courtesy of Invoice Wippert)

The entire authentic
40 gamers are again this yr and might be enjoying a number of shifts. “These
guys adore it. They’re simply so superb. We’ve had their help since day one–they’re
an enormous a part of the occasion. Plenty of them have their very own groups enjoying. Plenty of
them play on the identical crew collectively. They’re simply so devoted.”

The 2018 11 Day Energy Play Group Shift

Following the spectacle, in 2018, the occasion was opened as much as the general public. The 11 Day Energy Play Group Shift was born. “We wished to do one other marathon hockey recreation that concerned extra individuals, permitting extra individuals to help the trigger,” stated Lesakowski.

Associated: A 4-Hour Shift That Lasts Perpetually

Greater than 1,500
males, ladies and youngsters of all age teams skated a minimum of one in every of 122 four-hour
shifts to lift cash. It was wildly well-liked and raised an unimaginable $1.28

The 2019 11 Day Energy Play Group Shift

This yr, the occasion is greater than ever. In actual fact that’s its theme. “We had so many individuals apply to play and we didn’t wish to say no to anybody,” stated Lesakowski as her voice grew to become extra smooth and tender. “These groups had been affected by most cancers. Studying the functions… it was profound to learn their tales as to  why they wished to play within the occasion. So we wished to accommodate them.”

The 2019 version of the 11 Day Energy Play is greater than ever. (credit score: Kristen Roess)

Given the unimaginable demand to play within the occasion, shifts have been diminished from 4 hours to a few hours. “We checked with our earlier captains. I’d say 95 % of them are coming again, which exhibits that they had a good time final yr, and so they had been all in settlement. They stated completely–no matter we will do to permit extra individuals to place most cancers on ice by means of our occasion.”

There are roughly
2,500 gamers set to skate a minimum of one in every of 164 shifts. Every participant was given a
$500 fundraising purpose to set and is their duty to attain their purpose.
This yr’s occasion already eclipsed the $1 million mark a number of weeks in the past and is
properly on the best way to exceeding final yr’s complete. All monies raised might be distributed
to quite a lot of organizations, together with Roswell Park Complete Most cancers
Middle, Camp Good Days and Particular Occasions, in addition to the Make-A-Want

Transfer Over, Gritty

You’ll discover a whole lot of hockey gamers, volunteers and followers across the occasion in downtown Buffalo. However this yr, there’s additionally a brand new visitor: Petey. Standing almost 6-foot-Eight, the massive blue cuddly mascot might be a protracted misplaced cousin of Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers furry orange mascot who surfaced in Sep. 2018.

“He’s large and cuddly… anyone that individuals wish to hug,” stated Lesakowski, her smile felt by means of the early-morning telephone name. “With the mission we’re in to combat most cancers, we wished him huggable and lovable. To date, when individuals see him, that’s the very first thing they wish to do… hug him. It’s precisely what we wished.”

Petey Energy Play practices his slap shot. (credit score: Nolan Whipple)

Petey isn’t precisely a monster or a buffalo. “We wished individuals to be like…who’s he?,” chuckled Lesakowski. “He sort of replicates a bar league man. He’s bought a couple of lacking and cracked enamel. He’s bought the mullet going. And the massive grin.”

Opening Evening Celebration

With a view to squeeze in all of the groups, the video games truly begin at 6 a.m. on July 5. That’s why, as a substitute of doing a gap night time ceremony, it’s a gap night time celebration from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Harborcenter. A particular announcement and video may also be a part of the festivities.

The Lesakowski Household on the 2018 Opening Evening Ceremonies of the 11-Day Energy Play at HarborCenter (Photograph courtesy of Invoice Wippert)

“We would like gamers,
their households and everybody in the neighborhood to return out and produce their children.
We’ve bought face portray. We’ve bought balloon making. We’ve bought 716 offering
Buffalo’s greatest meals… even cotton sweet in our model colours.”

• At 6:00pm Sled hockey might be performed with USA Sled hockey gamers on that crew together with some veterans.• At 7:00pm the unique 40 Blue Group versus the 11 Day Energy Play 2018 high fundraisers• At Eight:00pm the unique 40 White Group versus the 11 Day Energy Play 2019 high fundraisers

On the closing shift, on July 15, the highest three fundraising groups play a crew comprised of the Sabres alumni and the Buffalo Beauts. All the 11-day (and night time) occasion might be streamed reside through a hyperlink on their web site, There’s a small payment.

The Multiplier Impact of Each Greenback Raised

Each greenback makes a distinction. Roswell Park researchers are in a position to leverage a single greenback raised right into a $10 return. It’s sufficient to maintain everybody motivated, realizing they’re making a distinction, particularly near dwelling.

For instance, this yr, 5 functions (out of 40) from researchers had been chosen to obtain seed grants from the fundraising in Western New York. One of many functions was from Dr. Scott Abrams who sought to review using immune-targeted remedy for the remedy of breast most cancers. He obtained a $100,000 grant from the 11 Day Energy Play funds.

Getting Concerned

The occasion is a monumental enterprise annually. Planning and logistics are paramount for issues to run easily. When requested if the occasion monopolized her life…if there’s a time she’s not fascinated with the 11 Day Energy Play, Lesakowski chuckled and took a second to collect her ideas. “It’s a grass roots occasion. We’re a really small group and primarily all volunteers. We don’t have a whole lot of overhead as a company. I believe that’s what’s thrilling for us… what we’ve been in a position to obtain. Now we have a ton of volunteers on the occasion, however all yr, it’s a really small group planning it. To see the fundraising numbers… the cash we’re in a position to increase… with simply that small group of individuals operating it’s… properly… that’s a excessive for us. Wow. Something’s attainable–it’s one thing we’ve all the time stated from day one.”

The 2019 11 Day Energy Play is greater than ever. (credit score: Kristen Roess)

She is continually blown away by the individuals in Buffalo. “The Buffalo neighborhood is an unimaginable metropolis that desires to offer again. They love their metropolis. When individuals ask us if we’re shocked by the help we’ve obtained, sure, however we additionally understand how superb individuals in Buffalo are. And that by no means surprises us. We see individuals doing so many fantastic issues for individuals in want in our neighborhood and for them to embrace the 11 Day Energy Play occasion, is one thing we’re very grateful for and hope that it continues to be supported.”

Former Buffalo Sabres, Patrick Kaleta and Andrew Peters, helped officiate throughout the 2018 11 Day Energy Play. (Photograph by Invoice Wippert/PicSix Inventive) July 5, 2018

She continued, “Michael (her husband and co-founder) and I, we hope to be operating this occasion once we’re 80 years previous. We would like it to be round for a really very long time and we wish to see households profit from it and know that we’re all the time going to combat for a remedy for most cancers and combat to help them.”

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