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By Dave Ricci

The dates are set. The teams are picked. Now the grind truly begins.

The journey to the record books is in full force as the members of the 11 Day Power Play continue to works towards the ultimate goal of the World’s Longest Hockey Game with their weekly dry land workout sessions that take place at Impact Sports Performance inside the HarborCenter.

Taking place at the HarborCenter in downtown Buffalo, June 22-July 3, the 11 Day Power Play crew of 40 players will attempt to play 250 continuous hours of hockey in an effort to raise $1 million for Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

The event was spearheaded by the husband/wife combo of Mike and Amy Lesakowski. Mike was dually inspired by Amy, herself a seven-year breast cancer survivor who now works at Roswell counseling new patients. And his dear mother, Evelyn Lesakowski, who succumbed to cancer in May 2016.

While signing up to play was a no-brainer, the players know full well that the magnitude of playing hockey every day, for 11 consecutive days is a huge challenge that they are all taking seriously.

“It’s not gonna be an easy task,” said 11 Day player Matthew Balling. “I think the biggest thing for us is being able to avoid injuries during that time. That means we have to be at peak physical fitness in order to accomplish this objective. We are going to have times for rests and breaks, but ya never know when you’re going to get twisted the wrong way. And you’re going to need everything (in your body) working 100% in order to avoid injuries.”

Meeting at Impact every Saturday morning the 11 Day Power Play teams go through an intense dry land workout with Impact personal trainers as they prepare their minds and bodies for the athletic test of their lives this summer.

During the Jan.14 session, workouts ranged from med-ball slams and weights to sled pushes. All designed to improve player’s range of motion, agility, endurance and core strength.
“The workouts have been intense. I love the team approach, everybody has been rooting each other on in the different exercises,” said Mike Lawley, another 11 Day player.

“(Impact trainer) Jason (Jerome) and his team have really been pushing us. It’s been a great experience. Ultimately we’ve got a situation on our hands where this is gonna be a pure endurance play. Some of us have run marathons in the past, but this is going to be 11 days of being on the ice for eight hours. Two four hour shifts every single day. It’s going to be an incredible challenge. We’re going to have some injuries, but everybody has got to step up and be in the best physical shape they possibly can be in to accomplish this.”
Along with the dry land training the players are also doing weekly skates, including a four hour session on Jan.6 that ran from 10pm to 2am so player’s bodies can get used to the cycle of playing at various hours.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the dry land workout is that they are run in a buddy system where you have a partner for each exercise. This buddy system is fostering a sense of support and brotherhood that will be needed to help get everyone to the end goal of 250 hours of game time.

“Mike Lesakowski, our team captain, has been great about keeping the team together,” said 97Rock on air talent, Dave Jickster.
“I haven’t been this tight with a group of guys probably since high school football.”

For information on how to donate money or to serve as a volunteer for the event click on the link below:

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