Monday, August 29, 2011

Ladies, Pucks, Blades, and You

Hey folks!

It’s been a while since my last post. Life gets hectic sometimes, and in my case the blog is what fell behind. I can say though, that I have a fantastic reason to write this post, and I hope you will agree.

As you may or may not know, sometimes people get sick. Sometimes people are even born sick (shitty, right?). In a lot of these situations, the only thing you can do is research the disease and try to find out how to take it behind the woodshed and give it a whippin’. Since research takes money, there’s a demand for kindhearted people to raise funds for such diseases. A friend of mine, Beth Snow, is partaking in an event intended to raise money for research into Cystic Fibrosis. She is playing hockey for 10 days straight.

Ten. Days. Straight.

Not “a game for ten days”. “One game that lasts for 10 days, 24 hours a day” is more like it. The event is called the “Longest Game 4 CF” and it is going on right now (watch a live webcast of the girls playing from here… as of this writing they’ve been playing for 84 hours straight). When done they will have set a World Record for the longest hockey game and hopefully have raised a bunch of money for CF research. You can donate to Beth’s efforts here: As an alternative plan, you can live a sad and shallow life. Your call though…

In order to wrap my head (and yours) around this ridiculous fundraiser, I did a bit of a Q & A with Beth before she began cursing her skates. I have commented where appropriate:

You have your PhD. Can I call you Dr. Beth?
I wouldn't have you call me anything else! ;-)

What, exactly, is the "Longest Game for CF"?
The Longest Game for CF is an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the longest ever game of hockey. The current record of 10 days was set by a group of men in Edmonton in February, so we are going to play for 10 days and 65 minutes. This is one, continuous 10-day-long game of hockey. That's 243 hours of hockey… Put another way, this one game is equivalent to three seasons of NHL hockey. (PAUL: 3 seasons of NHL hockey? Sweet Merciful Crap!)

All of this is being done, of course, to catch people's attention so that we can raise money for, and awareness about, cystic fibrosis.

Have you lost your marbles? Seriously… aren’t PhD’s supposed to be smart?
I'm sure they aren't lost, exactly. They must be around here somewhere.

If you have not lost your marbles, were you in possession of marbles previously?
Oh yes, of course. They were very pretty.

Why CF?
The event is the brainchild of Val Skelly, an incredible woman who lost her dear friend Lucia to CF. Val wanted to do something totally huge, something so epic that everyone would have to sit up and take notice to promote awareness about CF and fundraise for CF research. Being a hockey player, she came up with the idea of playing the longest ever hockey game!

One of the amazing things about raising funds for CF research is that we know the research makes a huge difference. 50 years ago, a child born with CF didn't live to see kindergarten. Today, thanks to research, half of people with CF live to see 40 years of age. That's an incredible amount of progress in a relatively short period of time. But we still have a long way to go, because people who have CF live with a very debilitating disease every single day of their lives and they die a lot sooner than they should. We need funds to continue the research!

Did you ever consider a charity that fights marble loss and marble-loss-related illnesses?
We did consider it, but to the best of our knowledge, there are only 40 people on earth who have marble loss-related illnesses to such an extent that they'd play hockey for 10 days straight, whereas CF is much more common. 1 in 25 people of Caucasian descent are carriers of this genetic disease, as are 1 in 46 people of Hispanic descent, 1 in 65 people of African descent and 1 in 90 people of Asian descent. There are approximately 3,000 people in Canada and 30,000 people in the US who have CF.

As well, as I mentioned above, incredible progress has been made in improving treatment and extending longevity for people with CF, whereas we are pretty sure that those with marble loss are beyond hope of ever finding a cure.

How much are you hoping to raise as a team and as an individual?
I'm aiming to raise at least $3,000 by the time the game starts on August 26th. Collectively, we want to raise $400,000!

You are all awesome. What about the event itself? How does it work? Can people leave the building?
We are not allowed to leave the Burnaby 8 Rinks property. So while we won't stuck in the building the entire time, we are only allowed to be in the building or to hang out in the parking lot. The world is going to be a very small place for us in those 10 days!

Is it refereed?
Yes, the Guinness Rules require that there must be two referees on the ice at all times, so our committee has been working hard to recruit people who can skate, who like wearing stripes, and who have a lust for power to be volunteer referees. (I think we may even still need a few more refs, so if you are interested...)

Are you allowed subs? I don't mean sandwiches.
Each team is only allowed 20 people and whoever is dressed and on the bench when the puck drops to start the game constitutes the two teams. No substitutions allowed, so if anyone gets hurt, your team just has fewer players. And we can't switch teams either, so if 5 people were to get hurt on one team, that team would only have their 15 remaining players and the other side would not be allowed to share theirs.

Because we are only allowed 20 players per team and it is physically impossible to stay up for 10 days without eating, sleeping or taking care of other, um, biological functions, we are setting up schedules where we will play for about 4 hours and then have 4 or 8 hour breaks. In order to do this, at any one time we will only have 6 skaters and a goalie on each team. This means that when you are on your 4 hour playing shift, you will be physically on the ice for almost the entire 4 hours. This, of course, assumes no injuries. If anyone goes out with an injury, we'll either have no sub on the bench or have fewer 8 hour breaks.

Man, where did I put those marbles?

That seems like a big time commitment. Did everyone quit their jobs to do this, or are you all hobos?
I cannot speak to the hobo nature of my teammates, but I'm taking vacation. I know at least one person in the game is a teacher and so she's on her summer vacation (but has to be in class to teach the very next day!) and I know at least one person who is taking unpaid leave to be able to play. The rest of them are probably hobos.

How many fighting majors do you think there will be, just to get some rest in the penalty box?
The desire to sit in the penalty box will likely be outweighed by the sheer terror of actually getting hurt in a fight, resulting in the team losing a player. Also, I don't think any of us will have the energy to swing a fist.

Are there periods? If you don't Zamboni the ice a couple of times won't you eventually just be running around on the floorboards?
There aren't periods, exactly, but we do get 10 minutes to clean the ice for every one hour that we play. Apparently the Zamboni normally takes 10 minutes and 15 seconds to clean the ice surface, so we are going to need to employ some kamikaze Zamboni drivers who can shave off that 15 seconds, because the entire thing is being videotaped and the Guinness people will be watching everything to make sure we followed all the rules exactly. And the Guinness people do not put up with no 15 extra seconds of ice cleaning time.

Has Vegas set an over-under on goals scored for the game?
Excellent question. I'll have to check with my bookie on that one. But I do know that in the 10 day long game that the men in Edmonton played in February, the final score was 2090 to 2010.

In related news, I hope to get my first ever hat trick during this game!

I have been reading a lot of Harry Potter Lately. If it gets out of hand is there any chance someone can catch a golden puck for an additional 150 points?
Absolutely. Which reminds me, I need to pack my broomstick to take with me!

What about the spectators? Surely people can watch?
For sure! We are playing on Rink 1 at Burnaby 8 Rinks, which has room for spectators (I believe you can even sit up in the bar and watch, if you are so inclined). And we definitely want spectators to come and cheer us on - the more, the merrier! I'm also hoping that people will show up with funny signs. Because funny signs make me skate faster. (PAUL: Note that the game will be streamed live here:

Where do you sleep?
We will be having RVs set up in the back parking lot that we'll be sharing amongst the players. So it will be kind of like camping but without the wilderness, lakes, greenery, campfires or anything that makes camping good.

Speaking of which, how are you eating during this?
During our breaks, we are going to be fed the most delicious foodstuffs cooked by Chef Brian Wong of the Delta Vancouver Airport Hotel (though he'll be cooking for us in the kitchen of the Delta in Burnaby, what with it being much closer to the rink and all). Brian is spending his vacation cooking non-stop for 40 hungry hockey players! All the food is being donated by Save-On-Foods, which is pretty awesome. (PAUL: Rock on Brian!)

In addition to having a chef cook our meals, we will have volunteers to do our laundry, take our skates for sharpening, and go on Starbucks runs to get our coffees. I may never want to come home after treatment like that!

What, exactly, will everything smell like when this is over
I don't even want to think about it. I can only hope that I'm so delirious from over-exertion that I lose all sense of smell by that point.

Are there any sponsors you'd like to thank?
Indeed there are!

Canlan Ice Sports (owners of Burnaby 8 Rinks) is our presenting sponsor, as they are donating the rink, the dressing rooms, and space in their parking lot for our RVs for 10 days!

Save-on-Foods, as I've mentioned, is donating all the food to feed the players for 10 days. That's a lot of food!

CBC is our official media sponsor. (I wonder if they are going to call it Hockey Day and Night and Day and Night and Day and Night and Day and Night and Day and Night and Day and Night and Day and Night and Day and Night and Day and Night and Day and Night in Canada?)

Another major sponsor is Richport Ford Lincoln - this is the place where Val works and they've been incredibly supportive of this whole endeavour.

BC Transplant is also a sponsor, as many people with CF require organ transplant.

And then, of course, there are countless donors who have given individually (you can see a list of most of the people who've donated to my fundraising campaign on my donation page:

And finally, please pimp your blog ( for my readers via an eloquent haiku.
I don't know if I'd call it eloquent, but here goes!

Hey, you know what's good?
Not To Be Trusted With Knives
Dot Com. OMG.

Did I mention that I suck at haiku?

So there you have it. If this sounds ridiculous, it is. PLEASE donate to this effort. This is a group of girls making an incredible commitment of pain and suffering so that others don’t have to. Throwing a few bucks into the pot is not too much to ask. You can donate to Dr. Beth specifically here:, or to the team in general here:

Good luck ladies!

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