Eat, Sleep, Play: 11 Day Power Play kicks off at Riverworks


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Sunday was day one of the 11 Day Power Play, a fundraiser for several local organizations, News 4 was at Buffalo Riverworks today for the puck drop.

11 days and nothing but eat, sleep and play hockey. That’s what 40 volunteers are doing starting today for the 11 Day Power Play.

“That’s heaven to me, eat, sleep, play hockey all day long. That’s great! I think a lot of it is built-up emotions that’s gone through some type of battle. We know why we’re here. We’re here for amazing reasons,” player Sean McCrone told News 4.

All 40 players will be playing hockey for 11 days straight at Buffalo Riverworks. They don’t go home. They have sleeping quarters and they eat, sleep and play in shifts.

“We have to be here all the time. The game never stops. The Zamboni goes out every hour; it always gets resurfaced, but no more than ten minutes. It won’t stop until the night of Thanksgiving eve at 6 p.m. with the same crew right here,” Co-founder Mike Lesakowski.

The event is a fundraiser for Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Make-A-Wish WNY, Camp Good Days and the Roswell Park Oishei Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Program.

The goal is to raise $2 million and to break the world record for the world’s longest hockey game. Many of the players shared their personal stories about how cancer has impacted their lives.

“In 2006 I had a benign brain tumor, luckily it wasn’t malignant. It was in a very difficult location, the size of a golf ball and basically, I had a month to live and they finally found it. I had neurosurgery at Roswell. At one time, they told me I would never play hockey or basketball again. At the time I was just happy to be alive, but you know something I thank the Lord here I am, I thank Roswell and thank my family,” player Peter Merlo said.

“I’m here representing my dad. He passed away due to colon and liver cancer in march of 2019. My first 11 Day was that year after he passed,” said player Morgan Haettich.

“I’m playing for a family friend whose mother passed away. And my mother’s mother, who I never met, passed away when my mother was young,” player Kristen Spulecki said.

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Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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