Fans were exhausted, players even moreso and police in the Norwegian city of Hamar had to deal with a rush of missing persons reports after the local hockey team Storhamar got caught in a marathon match against Sparta of Sarpsborg. It ended up setting a world record for its sheer length.
The match that began at 6pm on Sunday evening didn’t end until 2:33am on Monday. That’s when Storhamar finally scored to break a 1-1 tie that dragged into 11 periods.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that police received so many calls from anxious residents whose hockey fans hadn’t come home that they felt compelled to put out a notice on Twitter at 1:57am that “because of the hockey match between Storhamar and Sparta, which has lasted somewhat longer than usual, there are folks who miss their loved ones.” It seemed the most efficient way to calm those whose spouses, children or significant others were missing in action, and whose mobile phone batteries had long run out of power.
The match was the fifth of seven in the Norwegian hockey league’s quarter-finals, and it ended 1-1 after its ordinary playing time. Then came seemingly never-ending periods of sudden death as neither side managed to score. Some fans gave up, but NRK reported that a few thousand stayed until the bitter end, albeit some of them (most notably a father and his eight-year-old son from Sarpsborg) falling asleep in the grandstands.
The two teams have to face off again in Sarpsborg Tuesday evening. Storhamar now leads by three games to two, and Sparta has to win to stay in the competition. Players on both teams admitted to being exhausted and suffering cramps after the marathon match, which also allowed little time for food or drink during the eight hours and 33 minutes it lasted. “I can’t even think about the next match yet,” said one of the Storhamar players. “Now it’s only about food and rest.”