A Campbell River man’s name will be written into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Travis Dashkewytch, 34, was one of 40 men who took part in the longest hockey game now on record at 246 hours and two minutes – a total of 10-and-a-half days.
The game began at noon on May 6 and wrapped up at 6 p.m. on May 16
But there was more to the game than breaking records. The men had a greater purpose – to raise money for the Alberta Children’s Hospital and cancer research.
The goal was $1.5 million and the players – through their families, friends and communities – came through with $1.539 million.
Dashkewytch got involved following an invite from his brother who lives in Calgary. The game, held at the Chestermere Rec Centre (20 minutes east of Calgary), was organized by a group of oil workers wanting to raise money for cancer research.
They were inspired by Diamond Marshall, age six, who is battling a rare form of cancer and whose mother died of cancer four years ago.
“I wanted to do something for cancer research so I jumped at the opportunity right away,” said Dashkewytch whose wife Carrie Davison was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 at the age of 33. She’s now cancer-free, but is undergoing a “maintenance” surgery next week.
Dashkewytch played in honour of his wife and had ‘Carrie’ written on the back of his jersey. His number was <3 which, when flipped around forms the shape of a heart.
With two teams of 20 players, split into 10-man rosters, each group played four-hour shifts, with a four-hour break in-between ice times.
The players had to be at the arena 24/7 and slept on makeshift beds. By the time their shifts were over and they got out of their gear, showered and ate, they only had about two-and-a-half hours to sleep.
“Your body would break down,” Dashkewytch said. “Guys feet swelled up to sizes bigger than they normally are. I ended up taking my socks off to get my feet to fit into my skates. There were hundreds of skates donated and brought to the arena during the game. There was one guy who is a size nine skate wearing a size 14 because his feet hurt.”
Another broke his ankle, but continued to play to end.
Dashkewytch managed to escape injury, but it wasn’t smooth sailing.
Seven days in, as he was heading onto the ice for the start of a shift he had trouble breathing.
Dashkewytch, latrer diagnosed with pneumonia, was taken by ambulance to the hospital where doctors gave him medication and put him on three different inhalers to clear his lungs.
“They quarantined me and I slept in my own dressing room for two days,” said Dashkewytch, who missed only a couple of his four-hour shifts despite the ordeal. “I was worried because I couldn’t breathe. It was like holding your breath until they gave me treatment on the bench.”
The players were treated like celebrities throughout the game with several media outlets covering the marathon which was streamed live on hockeymarathon.com
Family, friends and other curious onlookers filled the tiny arena every day and nearly every night. Calgary Flames players Jerome Iginla and Brendan Morrison, as well as retired Flame Craig Conroy, also stopped by, as did country singer Paul Brandt.
“We stuck around because you never knew who you were going to meet,” said Dashkewytch’s wife, Davison, who brought their three kids along for the last six days of the hockey game.
By the time the clock wound down, the scoreboard read 4,178 goals for Dashkewytch’s Team Cure and 3,845 goals for Team Hope.
Dashkewytch tallied 225 goals, 200 assists, and 18 penalty minutes. The highest scorer notched 522 goals.
“I was completely exhausted,” he said by the time the marathon game came to an end. “I still feel tired and I’m still trying to catch up on my sleep.”
He’s also feeling other side effects.
“I still can’t feel parts of my feet,” Dashkewytch said. “The balls of my feet and the tops feel frozen like I’ve been to the dentist.”
Still, he would do it again in a heartbeat.
“It was very different being in that environment for 10 days. When you leave you feel like you’re missing something. I’d do it again.”
Dashkewytch, who raised $7,000, would like to thank all the people in the community who helped him in his fundraising efforts.