BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Emotions were running high as gloves soared toward the ceiling and sticks dropped to the ice, the players embracing, celebrating breaking the record for the longest continuously played hockey game.
“It was a very emotional game,” said Dave Jickster, a blue team player.
The Buffalo fans filling the stands cheer while watching the hometown boys become local heroes as they raise the cup.
“It says a lot about Buffalo,” says Mike Sullivan, a white team goalie. “It says a lot about the people here and their love of hockey and support for the community.”
Through community support, the 11 day long fundraiser brought in more than $1.2 million.
“Everyone is playing for somebody,” said Jickster.
That’s apparent around the arena where signs are showing people’s names, helmets have initials stickered onto the sides.
Blue team player, David Kaplan, signed up for the tournament to play for his friend who passed away from cancer six years ago. Within the last few months, his mom passed away too and he skates with her scarf in his pocket – a memento helping him through the hard times he’s had during the 11 days.
“That’s the mental part that got me through,” said Kaplan. “The physical part – I could do on my own and train but the mental part — thinking about family and friends, anyone who has been impacted by cancer, thinking of my mom, it got me over the hump.”
Across the bench, white team goalie Mike Sullivan plays for his mom too.
“I don’t think there was any point or any day I didn’t think about her,” said Sully. “Every time I stepped on the ice, I had a prayer card next to my locker with her picture on it to remind myself of why I’m here.”
His mom battled stage four lung cancer for six months before passing away in 2010. As the last few seconds of the game ticked away, his first thoughts go to her.
“I just kind of sat back in the crease and thought about my mother passing away and all the people who suffered and what we’re doing it for.”
With a final score — 1725 to 1697 — blue wins it all but many of the players are saying the real winner – is Roswell as the CEO says every dollar raised becomes $3 so the $1.2 million will become much more and help thousands of people in the Buffalo area.
“In the end, no one cares who wins,” said Jickster. “We might bust on the guys but no one cares who wins. It’s all for one thing and that’s cancer research.”