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Charity 24-hour game in Ponoka still bringing in money

More than 50 players hit the ice to support local KidSport
Game action near the end of the first hour on Friday, Feb. 7. Photo by Emily Jaycox

For a first-time event, it was received by everyone with the same enthusiastic reaction as scoring on a penalty shot in overtime.

“I thought it was a home run for us,” said Ryan Gillespie, vice president of the Ponoka Minor Hockey Association (PMHA), who spearheaded the organizing of the 24-hour charity game.

“We never heard anything negative at all. In fact, everyone I talked to wants to come back for the next one.”

More than 50 players — along with about five or six fill-ins as needed— participated on the four teams, which played in shifts throughout the event held Feb. 7 and 8.

“Several of the players took on five or six shifts because we didn’t want teams not having 10 skaters available,” he said.

“Ideally, it would have been better for players to do three or four shifts. That being said though, the pace that all of the games were played at was pretty good.

“With all of the hours that everyone put in, it was definitely a grind. However, all of the games were still competitive, fun and surprisingly fast as we got toward the end.”

Gillespie also said the support that was received from the community — food, drinks, gifts and anything else that was needed — was tremendous and more than could ever have been asked for.

There were also several special contests held on the Saturday including a Hockey Moms game, the PMHA’s initiation teams taking to the ice, an accurate shooter competition and a $10,000 shootout.

Organizers are still waiting for the final tally on the amount raised, but Gillespie said more than $12,000 has come in via the pledges collected by the participants.

“We still have some funds trickling in from local businesses and people that want to make sure we get their donation,” he added.

People of all ages gather around the bonfire to keep warm at about 5:30 p.m. Friday night. Photo by Emily Jaycox
There were plenty of food options on hand during the event for spectators and participants. Photo by Emily Jaycox
The first hour wraps up Friday, Feb. 7. Photo by Emily Jaycox
While the teams did get to play some under the lights outdoors, the game moved inside around 11 p.m. not only for the players, but so the lights and noise wouldn’t bother nearby residents. Photo by Jordie Dwyer
Playing under the light, these two squads were still speeding up and down the ice early on in the evening. Photo by Jordie Dwyer
The sunshine was a welcome sight for many on Saturday. However, it did make it somewhat difficult as players and goalies at times had to battle the glare. Photo by Jordie Dwyer
The pace of play slowed somewhat as time winded down on the final game of the charity event Feb. 8. Photo by Jordie Dwyer
Two teams enjoy the sun, while battling a stiff and chilly wind, during the final game of the 24-hour charity hockey game Feb. 8. Photo by Jordie Dwyer
Ponoka had it’s first annual 24-hour hockey game from Feb. 7 to 8. Photo by Emily Jaycox. There were several kids stations set up during the 24 hours. Photo by Emily Jaycox