A former Sarnia Sting player became a part of sports history last week when he participated in what was the longest game of professional hockey ever played.
Forward Joey Tenute and his Storhamar Dragons battled the Sparta Warriors in a Norwegian league playoff bout that took a staggering eight overtime periods to resolve.
“It was a crazy, crazy amount of time, from when we got dressed for warm-ups, to being in equipment for close to 10 hours, and to actually play 217 minutes of hockey,” said Tenute, who spent two seasons with the Sting in 2002 and 2003.
The heroic tilt played March 12 in Hamar, Norway was the fifth in a best-of-seven series tied 2-2.
After a scoreless first, the Dragons broke the ice with a second period goal, but Sparta responded before the buzzer to tie it.
“This one went to overtime, and one overtime turned into two, and two turned into three, and all of a sudden we’re into the eighth overtime,” said Tenute, who potted 41 goals his first season with the Sting.
A typical NHL match takes two hours and 20 minutes. This one required eight hours, 30 minutes and 14 seconds, and didn’t end until early Monday morning.
“Guys were cramping up and getting taped up every period, even on the bench,” Tenute said.
“We were just trying to stay hydrated as much as we could, get some food into us, and really just go into survival mode.”
Tenute and his teammates wolfed down vegetables, fruit, protein bars and peanut butter and jam sandwiches.
“There was some pizza in the dressing room around the 6th period,” he recalled.
“You had to continue to put food and hydration into your body just to keep the wheels moving.”
Tenute said the league rivals each had plenty of scoring chance but couldn’t cash.
“For some reason … the puck was not going in the net. I think it was meant to be a record broken that night.”
Finally, Storhamar’s Joakim Jensen ended the ultra marathon with the winning goal at 2:32 a.m.
“It seemed like it was never going to end. Finally when it did, I think it was just relief,” said Tenute, who estimates he played 150 shifts that night.
Until then, the longest game in professional hockey history was a 1936 Stanley Cup final between the Detroit Red Wings and the Montreal Maroons, ending when Detroit’s Mud Bruneteau scored at 16:30 of the sixth overtime.
Tenute and the Dragons were eliminated from the playoffs later that week in a game 7 loss to Sparta.’