SJ alumnus helps world-record hockey game raise $2M for Canadian children’s hospital
As a member of the sports health care staff for Canadian teams at three Olympics, Greg Uchacz, D.C. (San Jose ’92) is well-experienced at providing sports-care for athletes at competitions that feature multiple events during the course of consecutive weeks.
Dr. Uchacz’ list of impressive career achievements in the field of sports-chiropractic recently added one for the record books – literally! — when he managed sports health care services at a single athletic event that spanned 11 days, which earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest hockey game ever played.
Even more impressive? The game was a charity-event that raised more than $2-million for the Alberta Children’s Hospital!
Dr. Uchacz, clinic director at ProActive Health Group in Calgary, served as medical director of the 11-day “Hockey Marathon”, played at Chestermere Arena in Alberta.
As a member of the Hockey Marathon’s executive committee, Dr. Uchacz began attending event-planning meetings a year in advance, and initiated weekly medical coordination meetings six months prior.
The puck dropped on May 4 – and the game concluded 248 hours later, on May 14.
The hockey-marathon fundraiser involved 40 volunteer players (divided among “Team Hope” and “Team Cure”) who were on the ice in four-to-eight-hour shifts – and each raised $10K to participate. Players slept at the arena, and they were required to complete daily health status tests performed by the health care team to ensure the athletes were able to cope with the physical demands of the event.
Dr. Uchacz (who was at the arena every day, and spent the night on several occasions), and 40 other members of the medical team, volunteered their time in multiple shifts of four- to six-hours, providing chiropractic, soft-tissue, taping and other sports health care services.
Even with round-the-clock care, participating players suffered their fair share of blisters, bruises, cuts, sore muscles, and even a few broken bones.
However, by the time the 11-day Hockey Marathon had achieved its goals (a new world-record for the longest hockey game, and $2-million raised for the hospital), aches and pain turned to feelings of elation and pride.
“Any event of this magnitude gives you a special feeling,” said Dr. Uchacz, who served in a similar role at the previous Hockey Marathon, in 2012, which lasted 246 hours, and raised $1.6-million.
Dr. Uchacz is proud of his three Olympic appointments. However, his involvement with the Hockey Marathon will hold an equally special place among his collective career achievements.
“As a parent with three children of my own, who has had to utilize the hospital on a couple of occasions, this type of fundraiser really strikes a personal chord with me,” said Dr. Uchacz, honored as “Chiropractor of the Year” in 2012 by the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors.
Players and event organizers were equally grateful to Dr. Uchacz and the ProActive team for the services they provided.
“Dr. Uchacz far exceeded what he had to do,” said Alex Halat, Hockey Marathon player, and one of the primary organizers of the event.
“We were able to eliminate 95-percent of the health issues we experienced in 2012. The organizing committee and players are forever grateful to Dr. Uchacz and his team.”
For more highlights from the Hockey Marathon: www.hockeymarathon.com.