BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) — As different hockey teams went head to head inside the Harbor Center, they each had the same goal – ending cancer. This year’s 6th annual 11 Day Power Play event raised more than $1.2M for cancer research.

“It’s about finding a cure but it’s also about the care that’s given to the people who need it now, camp good days, make a wish, and it’s just an amazing event,” said Bill Shaflucus, who was one of 2,000 people who played hockey during the event. “It’s about playing hockey and having fun too so you get the best of both worlds. You raise a lot of money, it all stays local and you get to have a lot of fun while doing it.”

During the 11 Day Power Play players took turns playing three-hour long games for 11 days straight.

“It’s a lot of fun but it’s a workout for sure,” Shaflucas said. “Three hours is a long time to be out there but it goes by quick.”

“It’s a hockey town so everybody just loves hockey and loves to give back,” said Kristen Carl, who volunteered all 11 days of the event. “To be able to come and help and watch these guys just raise a lot of money. My husband is still a patient at Roswell. I know it hit home for him to know that that money is specifically going to that one place.”

In addition to raising money for Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the funds also go toward Camp Good Days, the Roswell Park and Oishei Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Program and Make-A-Wish.

“It’s an amazing partnership, every year the entire organization blows it out of the park,” said Ben Marchione, who’s the regional director of Make-A-Wish WNY. “The entire community comes out in the fight against cancer. It’s really remarkable.”

“All organizations right in our backyard that we need as a community to support, every year. It’s important to give back to them, our players and our volunteers are really what make the 11 day happen,” said Amy Lesakowski, who’s the 11 Day Power Play executive director.

Organizers say this gives people hope

“Hope for a cure,” Carl said. “Everyone has been touched by cancer unfortunately.”

“We’re not stopping. The players aren’t stopping. We’ll be back in 2023 with another community shift and until cancers eradicated, we’re not stopping,” Lesakowski said.

Over the last 6 years, the 11 Day Power Play has raised more than $8.5M for cancer research in WNY.

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Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter from Buffalo, N.Y. who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here and follow her on Twitter.