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.