Steve McNeil is 11 hours into his skating marathon at Maisonneuve park, with no sign of slowing down.
The Toronto resident is in town for a special mission, and he has an ambitious goal.
“In the middle of a hockey game, I came up with a crazy concept of going out and skating for almost a full day in honour of my mother, who born December 15, 1926,” said McNeil.
McNeil’s mother passed away in 2013 after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for 20 years.
Every year, he holds a skating marathon, where he hits the ice for 19 hours and 26 minutes to pay tribute to her — a time that also refers to the year she was born.
“I didn’t think 19 minutes and 26 seconds would be enough to get anybody’s attention, so I jumped it to 19 hours and 26 minutes,” he said.
The 57-year-old skates alone most of the day, but always appreciates a bit of company.
“Listen, what he does, we have to help — we have to help in any way we can to support him as much as we can,” said retired NHL defenceman Gaston Gingras.
WATCH: Toronto man raises money for Alzheimer Society with marathon skate
McNeil has been skating outdoors in Toronto for charity for the last seven years, where he’s raised around $40,000.
This year, he said he wanted to spread his initiative.
“This year being the seventh year, I thought it’s a nice click: seven NHL cities in Canada, seventh year, so I’ll take it on the road,” said McNeil.
All of the money raised in each city will go toward the local Alzheimer Society.
Once he’s done in Montreal, he’ll head to Ottawa and then hit the west coast.
McNeil says if all goes well, he hopes to expand his marathon tour next year, and he has his mind and skates set on all 31 NHL cities.
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