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Wilson helps 11 Day Power Play raise $1.25m for cancer research

BUFFALO—Most offensive hockey statistics revolve around goals and assists. Former Springville grad Brayton Wilson took those categories to new levels last week in a community effort against one of the toughest opponents off the ice – cancer.

Trading in his blades for skates, Wilson played a four-hour shift of the 11-Day Power Play. Though he didn’t register a goal or assist, he earned both with his venture by assisting in hitting a goal of $1.2 million for Roswell Park, Camp Good Days and Make-A-Wish.

“I think [the 11-Day Power Play organizers] put on a great event and I’m happy we were able to exceed the overall goal of $1.2 million,” Wilson said.

The 2010 Springville-Griffith Institute grad put in his four-hour shift July 12 at HarborCenter along with his coworkers from Entercom, his employer where he spends mornings as the producer for WGR550 radio’s ‘Howard and Jeremy’ sports talk show. With each Entercom member attempting to raise at least $300 each, Wilson more than doubled his employer’s expectations.

“To have reached more than $600 personally was really a nice feat that I really have to thank those who donated and contributed to the cause on my behalf,” he said.  “I think we all know somebody who’s been touched by cancer, and giving some help to the necessary funding to help with research to try to beat cancer certainly is something we need more of in this world.”

Wilson’s team played against a team from Lancaster with a series of 45-minute periods with a 10 minute span between periods to scrape or resurface the ice. The four hours weren’t as grueling as he originally anticipated, and aside from being a little tired afterward, he thought it wasn’t all that bad.

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“Getting through the middle two hours was probably the toughest just because the first hour you can tap off of that initial energy and the last hour you just go all out to end on a high note,” Wilson said. “Hours two and three are really the testament hours where you’re trying not to do too much out there to make sure you last for the final hour.”

This year’s 11 Day Power Play, the world’s longest hockey game whose purpose is to help fight cancer, began July 5 and ran through July 15. There were no numeric rosters passed out at the event as each player from both teams wore jersey No. 11.

The venture started last year with 40 players in one continuous hockey game spanning 11 days. This year’s version expanded to 120 teams comprised of 60 four-hour shifts of one single game and was officially branded as the ‘11 Day Power Play Community Shift,’ that originated from event executors, Amy and Mike Lesakowski.

The 11 Day Power Play website summarized its mission best and named the benefactors, “The purpose of this important event is to raise critically-needed funds for important local cancer causes, including: cutting-edge cancer research and wellness programs at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center; supporting programs that improve quality of life for children, adults and families affected by cancer through Camp Good Days; and, granting wishes and amazing experiences to kids with life-threatening illnesses, including cancer, by Make-A-Wish Western New York.”

Wilson is already looking forward to next year and hopes he gets the opportunity to assist again in 2019’s goal.

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