The 11 Day Power Play has already surpassed last year's fundraising total, and there are plenty of shifts left to play.
The community fundraiser announced that it surpassed $1.2 million late Wednesday night. The event, held at HarborCenter, began on July 5 and concludes on Sunday.
"We're completely overwhelmed by the support and the amount of people that are donating," said Amy Lesakowski, the 11 Day Power Play's executive director. "I really have no words – to be able to raise that amount of money for two years in a row is just an incredible feeling."
Funds raised from the event will go to Roswell Park (80 percent) as well as Camp Good Days (10 percent) and Make-A-Wish (10 percent).
Last year's local debut of the 11 Day Power Play had 40 Buffalo amateur players play a marathon game that lasted more than 10 days and 10 hours (the final score was 1,725-1,697) and raised $1.2 million. Lesakowski, a cancer survivor, and her husband, Mike, organized last year's event; Mike was one of the 40 players in the marathon game.
This year the event returned to HarborCenter billed as the "community shift," with an original goal of $1 million. That goal was set hours after the puck dropped to begin the event.
— 11 Day Power Play (@11DayPowerPlay) July 12, 2018
Amy Lesakowski said that she and organizers weren't certain they would reach $1 million until a few weeks before the event started.
"To be at $1 million just five hours within puck drop was just incredible," Amy Lesakowski said. "And now to be surpassing last year's goal ... the 40 guys laid the groundwork last year, and the community is following them and supporting these causes that they want to support."
More than 1,500 players along with 400-plus volunteers have been at HarborCenter for this year's event as hundreds of teams have taken to the ice, around the clock. Ages have ranged from 11 to older than 70, Amy Lesakowski said.
There have been about 120 teams involved in the event, ranging from squads from companies and organizations, to groups of friends, family-based teams and just traditional recreation hockey players.
"It's been such a variety," said Amy Lesakowski. "We had families reaching out to us who had different levels of players, but they wanted to play together ... We've had organizations and companies. It's been a mix of people from the community coming together from all different levels."