BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Weary and worn out hockey players switch lines fiercely, anticipating the break from play.
“I am a little sore,” said Larry Ralph, one of the blue team players. “My feet muscle ache. I had a four hour turnaround so I’m a little torn up and tired.”
“We’re ready to finish it up and get some sleep,” said Mike Lawley, another player.
These teams are made up of a few dozen players who are on the ice, after five days, playing the game they love for a cause near and dear to their hearts — finding a cure for cancer.
“I’m playing in honor of my family and friends,” said Ralph. “Hopefully other people don’t have to go through what they did.”
His helmet has several sets of initials on it for family members and friends who have been diagnosed by cancer.
As Ralph comes off of his lengthy shift – four hours off followed by four hours on – he goes through stretching with a few of the athletic trainers and then will take a sleep shift.
Another player, Nik Fattey, comes off his shift, showers, and slips into Sperry’s and a quarterzip, ready to get to work. Fattey is the VP and Director of Hockey at Harborcenter. When he’s not on the ice, he’s around it, working and managing what is going on at the facility.
“I have the player perspective and then the building perspective,” said Fattey. “It’s fun to figure out how can we make it better.”
Fattey says for him, participating just makes sense.
“All three things added up – great cause, i love hockey and then being in the building.”
And while he is logging long days, he and many others remember why they’re playing and for them the cause, is no game so regardless of how weary and worn they might be – they’re continuing to lace up and skate for a cure.
“This is hard but fighting cancer is harder and that’s enough to get me through.”