Started in 2017 by Mike and Amy Lesakowski, the 11 Day Power Play established itself as a strong charitable event that gained recognition for setting the record of the longest ever continuous hockey game ever played. As impressive as 250+ hours of hockey are, what is more striking is the overwhelming impact this event has had on the WNY community. Surpassing their fundraising goal of $1 million each year, the 11 Day Power Play has been able to support several local initiatives including sending over 100 children to Camp Good Days, funding 20 Make a Wish events, and contributing well over $2 million to Roswell’s cutting edge research programs. Growing each year, the 11 Day Power Play has quickly become one of Buffalo’s favorite summer fundraising events. 2019 proved to be the strongest event the 11 Day Power Play has seen by nearly doubling its goal from years’ past. The event brought in over $1.6 million. This impressive number continues to put the event on the map as one of the most well attended and participated charitable events in the area.
This event is built beyond charity. It establishes a level of connectivity that Buffalo hockey fans can share and participate in together. Buffalo is known for being the “City of Good Neighbors” and the community continues to ring this saying true. The 11 Day Power Play is a small example of coming together for fun and comradery to contribute to a great cause for others.
At McGuire Development, we continue to seek new ways to support the WNY region. We take pride in supporting organizations and non-profits in the area and continue to put a large focus into these relationships. In line with our focus, our own team member, Chris Collucci, participated in the 11 Day Power Play to showcase his love for hockey and helping others. Chris is a dedicated hockey player and lifelong Buffalonian. We sat down with Chris to ask him about the impact an event like this has on our community as well as what the players are feeling on the ice during the game.
What encouraged you to participate?
I am a big fan of volunteering and am always looking for ways to help bolster positive value within our Buffalo community. I am also an avid hockey fan and this was a really fun way to have a great and time and benefit the great cause of fighting cancer simultaneously.
Is there a personal connection you feel to this event?
When I first signed up for the event, it was just to help make a difference in the fight against cancer generally, but you always hear that everybody is effected by cancer in some way. I have sadly known many people with cancer, but until recently it hasn’t hit quite so close to home. A few months ago, my aunt has been diagnosed with leukemia and is fighting her way through it. Seeing her strength through this struggle was a very significant motivator for me to do anything I could to help her and anyone else effected by cancer. Every little bit helps and I think the 11 Day is a testament to how a lot of people working together for a large goal can have an incredible impact.
What’s the environment like on the ice during this event? Competitive? Friendly?
The environment is great, everybody is playing for a great cause and they know that the true upshot of the event is to help people in need. That being said, hockey has a hilarious way of sucking you in where even in a charity game like this, once you’re on the ice competing, it is bound to get a little “exciting”. So once the game got going, there was definitely an element of the competitiveness and “chippiness” involved in the play. Everybody wants to win, too bad our game ended in a tie!!!
What’s an event like this mean to you, and what does it mean to the community as a whole in your opinion?
Honestly, it means a ton. Cancer is a really sad affliction because it doesn’t just impact the lives of the individuals with the diagnosis, but everyone that cares about them as well. The feeling that hurts me the most with my aunt’s situation is just the helplessness; having to sit by and watch her the treatment take a toll on her physically and wanting so badly to do something to help that, but knowing you can’t. With so many different forms of cancer having so many different impacts on health, the effects of the disease are pervasive throughout society. Being able to make any impact at all to help cancer research and the copious people effected by cancer, either themselves or through a loved one, makes for a very gratifying and moving experience.