Forty female hockey players beat the Guinness World Record Monday for playing the longest hockey game in the world, but said the biggest reward was raising awareness and more than $125,000 for cystic fibrosis.
The women, who battled blisters, swollen knees, boot bang and even a concussion, played for 10 days - for a total of 243 hours and five minutes - wrapping up the marathon game at 11: 05 a.m. Monday amid cheers, tears, hugs and dozens of red roses tossed on the Burnaby 8Rinks ice from supportive fans.
While nearly 2,500 goals were scored, 290 of them from Courtney's Bree Healey, the players insisted it wasn't about the score.
"It's a miracle of the human spirit," said Val Skelly, a sales manager at Richport Ford Lincoln who spearheaded the event, called Long Game 4 CF. "Now we all know we can do anything we put our minds to. I'll never forget this moment, thank you."
The first few days of the event was tough for Skelly, who said she "woke up in the morning crying my eyes out and thinking 'What did I get us into?'"
But she was compelled to push forward, motivated by the promise she made to Lucia Tavano, whom she befriended while working for Cystic Fibrosis Canada in its Edmonton office, that she would do something "huge" for the cystic fibrosis cause. Tavano died at age 27.
The marathon hockey match was played in the name of Eva Markvoort of New Westminster, who was chosen as the spokeswoman for the fundraising campaign but died a few months later at age 25.
Markvoort, a former Miss New Westminster and theatre major at the University of Victoria, was passionate about acting.
Frustrated that she wasn't landing many roles due to the fact that many directors had concerns about casting someone whose health issues could potentially pose problems (a coughing fit, for example, in the middle of a monologue), she ended up starring in the story of her own life and, sadly, her own death.
The locally shot documentary 65_RedRoses, which can be watched online through the CBC's website, follows her struggles as she desperately waits for a double lung transplant. The film, co-directed by her friends Nimisha Mukerji and Philip Lyall, became a hit on the international film festival circuit.
Her story - which she also shared through her blog "65redroses" - was a major source of inspiration for the team, which featured a wide range of players and ages, including everyone from rank amateurs to former Canadian national women's team goalie Danielle Dubé.
As a goalie for Team Canada, Dubé helped win her country four gold medals, including a fourgame home ice sweep in Richmond at the 1996 IIHF Women's Pacific Rim Championship, and silver at the Nagano Olympics. The 35-year-old mother of two has held her own scrimmaging with NHL players and, nine years ago while playing for the Long Beach Ice Dogs in the now-defunct West Coast Hockey League, she became only the third female puckstopper in history to start between the pipes for a men's pro league game.
Dubé is one of the 40 women who hit the ice early in the morning Aug. 26 at Canlan Ice Sports Burnaby 8Rinks attempting to set a new Guinness World Record for playing the longest continuous hockey game. Playing four-onfour on rotating four-hour shifts and divided into Team White and Team Red, the women called the rink home for 10 days as they battled it out during what was essentially a giant overtime minus the chance of ending it in sudden death.
The exhausting record of 242 hours was set by a group of men, and one woman, last February at the northern Alberta homestead of the Edmonton Oilers inhouse optometrist, Brent Saik.
"If not the biggest game, it'll certainly be the longest and the most memorable for sure," said Dubé as she prepared for the time spent either inside the rink or asleep in one of several cramped campers housing the players in the rink's parking lot.
"Unlike some of the girls here, I don't have personal experience with CF, but the opportunity came up and hockey has given me a lot. I've traveled the world and done all sorts of stuff, and this was just an amazing chance to give something back. As a mother, I can imagine how awful it is for children and it's a great cause to be able to play for."
Cystic fibrosis is the most common and deadliest genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. Most don't make it past the age of 30. A degenerative disease that destroys the lungs and digestive system, it requires multiple daily medications and physical therapy. Suffering from the disease is commonly described as being like drowning on the inside. Financial donations to the cause can be made at www.cysticfibrosis. ca, while more drastic but equally important donations can be arranged by becoming an organ donor at transplant.bc.ca.