HALIFAX — Pre-teens Taylor Jeffrey and Paikea Wall will always remember the historic hockey game they played on Saturday.
Jeffrey, Wall and their teammates on the TASA Ducks Girls Peewee AA team played a nail-biting 10-period game — seven periods in overtime — at the Halifax-area St. Margaret’s Centre.
“Being in history is a big thing and I love hockey, so, it’s a big thing for me,” Jeffrey, a first-year forward on the TASA Ducks Girls Peewee AA team, told Global News.
“After you think about it for awhile, and actually give it a little bit to sink in, it’s like ‘Oh my God. We actually did that,’” added Wall.
After three hard-fought periods against a squad from Pictou County, N.S, they were deadlocked at 1-1 in the provincial final.
By the fifth overtime period, players and officials were taking longer breaks between periods, desperately conserving energy.
“You want to shoot it really hard,” said Wall. “But, it doesn’t go as hard as you want, because you’re so tired.”
Jeffrey admitted even forward momentum was a fading notion.
“Our coaches were telling us to try to pass it up,” she said. “But, your team was still at the same speed as you, and it was hard.”
For anxious parents, the winning goal was becoming secondary.
Jeffrey’s father, Donnie Jeffrey, said ensuring the teams of 1-1 and 12-year-old girls had enough snacks and water to continue was critical.
“There is a concern for health and we noticed the girls were getting a little fatigued,” he said. “You could see that with them, through their shifts. In fact, one player on the Pictou team did collapse.”
That girl soon recovered, from suspected dehydration.
But, the surreal saga eventually had to stop. Five hours after it started, Hockey Nova Scotia declared a 1-1 final score and declared both teams champions.
“Nobody wanted to take an opportunity away from a girl to be a hero, nobody wanted a kid to suffer because of playing too much,” Peter Twohig, the organization’s Regional Director for Female Hockey in Halifax, explains.
Twohig is also a history professor. His preliminary research indicates it’s the longest recorded hockey game in Nova Scotia history — possibly beyond.
“[It’s] perhaps one of the longest games in hockey history, in Canada,” he said.
At 150 minutes of action, it’s within 26 minutes of the NHL’s longest game — a March 24, 1936 face-off between the Detroit Red Wings and the Montreal Maroons.
But, Saturday’s epic game gives some impressive bragging rights for the girls.
Although Jeffrey and Paikea admit their legs are still tired from Saturday’s epic game, their youthful energy is returning as they await a ceremony, at a later date, that will honour two teams that scored big in the record books.