For the sixth year in a row, Hockey Helps Inc. will be hosting its annual 24 Hours of Hockey Marathon – a fund-raising event held at Dix Hills Ice Rink during Labor Day weekend since 2014.
The 24-hour marathon was started by former New York Ranger Stephane Matteau and Long Island native Jim Flanagan, the U.S. managing partner and vice chairman for PricewaterhouseCoopers, a multinational professional services network, and a diehard Rangers fan.
“The event was started six years ago by my Uncle Jim and Stephane Matteau as a way to give back to the local community,” said Zack Lamberti, a hockey player at Hofstra University from Kings Park and a participant in the marathon since its inception. “The idea came from the two of them discussing how to raise money for charities, and hockey is something that is important to both of them and to our entire family, so using it as a platform to raise money just made sense.”
The marathon consists of hockey games starting every hour on the hour from 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, until 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 1. The games are standard 5-on-5 hockey, except instead of the games being three periods they are broken into two halves. While there will be plenty of hockey being played, that’s not all that will be going on during the marathon.
“Other than the hockey itself, there are raffles that players, family, friends and guests can purchase tickets for and enter,” said Lamberti. There are plenty of hockey-related and non-hockey related items that are raffled off. For example, one of the items we raffled off last year were tickets to the Rangers’ home opener.”
For those interested in participating, you won’t even need to take your skates off to grab a bite to eat throughout the 24 hours, as food and drinks will be provided for those involved.
“Many places donate food for us to serve to the hockey players throughout the event,” said Lamberti. There is food available for the entire event, with many different things for the players to eat such as bagels, sandwiches, pizza, and other hot food along with coffee, water and gatorade.
The 24 Hours of Hockey Marathon has a goal every year to raise money for local charities that have the same mission as Hockey Helps Inc., which is “to help individuals struggling with addiction, mental illness and cancer, and to provide support for children and youth facing economic disadvantages, illness, or related hardships.” Some of the local charities that benefit from the marathon include North Shore Holiday House in Huntington, Soulful Living for Recovery in Smithtown, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. of Northport and the Smilezone Foundation USA. Last year, the marathon raised more than $900,000 and in total has raised approximately $2.5 million since its first year back in 2014.
Local hockey players – no matter the skill level – take part in the annual marathon to help raise money for the organization’s cause, including former NHL players. Other than Matteau, some of the more recognizable names at the event feature Adam Graves, Arron Asham, Benoit Hogue, Brian Mullen and Colton Orr, among others.
The 24 Hours of Hockey Marathon will go on for – you guessed it – 24 full hours, and will be taking place at the same location as it has the past five years at Dix Hills Ice Rink, located at 575 Vanderbilt Parkway in Dix Hills.
There’s still plenty of time ahead of Labor Day weekend to get involved with Hockey Helps Inc. and its yearly fund-raiser. For more information on the 24 Hours of Hockey Marathon or if you would like to make a donation, visit www.hockeyhelpsmarathon.com or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.