BUFFALO — The heart of hockey season is a foregone conclusion throughout the United States and even Canada as we enter the hottest weeks of the year in Western New York and southern Ontario.
But it's ice hockey and helping others that's on the hearts and minds of almost 2,000 local men, including a large contingent of Lockport Police Department personnel, who will compete early next month in the annual 11-Day Power Play Hockey Tournament (July 5-15) at Harborcenter.
Last year, more than $1.2 million was raised for Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center at the event, billed as, “the world’s longest hockey game.” Two teams of 20 players competed in continuous, four-hour shifts, playing a 250-hour game — all while living onsite.
This year, co-founders Mike and Amy Lesakowski said they're are hoping to beat that with the 11 Day Power Play Community Shift — a game open to all.
The new game will feature 60 consecutive, four-hour shifts, each featuring a new set of teams. The LPD is slated to compete from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Sunday, July 7, at Harborcenter.
“The Lockport Police Department and the Lockport Police Hickory Club are proud to take part in a wonderful charity event that impacts people of our community,” said LPD officer Brent Russell.
“Officers of the Lockport Police Department and officers from other Niagara County municipalities are taking part in this prestigious event with many other people and teams partaking.
“We all know people in our lives who've been impacted by cancer,” officer Russell said. “This is a great way for the police department to team up and raise money, so that we can help the people affected in our community.”
Each participating team has a minimum fundraising goal of $5,000 to support cancer research and wellness programs at Roswell Park, Make-a-Wish Western New York, and Camp Good Days.
Organizers estimate that about 1,770 pairs of skates will hitting the ice during the 11-day tournament.
Officer Russell added that anyone can donate by going online to the Lockport Police Department Facebook Page or you can stop down at the department and provide a check made out to the Lockport Hickory Club.
Follow veteran US&J sports reporter and editor John D'Onofrio at @JohnD'Onofrio7.