MINNEAPOLIS — Former Virginia resident Zach Lamppa and former NHLer Tom Chorske can cross a big item off of their collective bucket list.
Just last November, the pair of hockey players set out to set the Guiness World Record for longest hockey pass on a crystal clear Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis.
Given a maximum of three attempts, Lamppa, 42, set out to pass the puck at least 894 feet, which was set as the minimum to become a Guiness World Record.
After about two hours out on the ice warming up and having fun, the moment of truth came. Lamppa of Detroit Lakes lined up for a long sweeping wrist shot and the frozen hunk of rubber glided down the ice until it finally passed the 894-foot mark.
A few seconds and a few feet later, Minnesota’s own Chorske officially received the pass just before it stopped — 904 feet and 3 inches away from Lamppa’s stick.
“We were fortunate enough to get ahold of one,’’ said Lamppa, and didn’t need the second or third shot.
Chorske, 52, said it all happened so fast with a Guiness official on hand, as well as a survey crew and a video crew.
“No one else in the world knew we were doing this. I don’t think my family even knew. I didn’t tell them,’’ said Chorske, a Stanley Cup winner with the New Jersey Devils in 1995. “But then all of a sucden we were offical world record holders. It’s kind of cool. It’s kind of a bucket list thing too.’’
While the record was set in a hurry, there was about one year of planning.
In November of 2017, Lamppa, who skates in Detroit Lakes, Minn., and a friend watched the ice freeze over for a few weeks there without any snow.
“Just like any hockey enthusiast, we thought how far can we shoot the puck with these (perfect) conditions,’’ Lamppa said in a telephone interview.
The former Hibbing Community College hockey player knew there would be some obstacles but he was up for the challenge.
“The ice is not perfect if you can imagine. There’s ruts and ice and branches and stuff out there,’’ Lamppa said. However, “we started shooting the puck and it was going 500-600 feet,’’ he said, with SSQTCH Productions of the Twin Cities on hand to film it.
In addition to the challenges with the ice, Lamppa also had to account for the puck breaking right to left because he is a left-handed shot.
The unofficial effort at the longest hockey pass was now on film and SSQTCH reached out to Guiness and sent them the video. The category of “Longest Ice Hockey Pass’’ was subsequently created and all the requirements were laid out by Guiness, who wanted it done again for an official record.
Lamppa and Chorske began working together at that point and the pair talked every now and then over the summer.
Fast forward to November 2018, “and then the conditions presented themselves again on Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis.
Chorske of Southwest Minneapolis said setting the world record was alread in the back of their minds ... “and we decided to do it this winter.’’
Chorske and Lamppa proceeded to get two officials, a surveyor and the Guiness representative and the date of Nov. 20, 2018, was set.
The pair were thinking about setting the record at 400 feet, which would have been fairly easy. However, Guiness looked at the old video and said it had to beat the mark set that day of 894 feet.
“There was a little bit of drama there,’’ Lamppa said. “It wasn’t going to be at a comfortable, shorter level. We werent’ looking to be the last record holder, we were looking to be the first.’’
The drama came from the limit of just three attempts.
“They give you three attempts and that’s it. If you don’t hit it in three shots you’re done.’’
Luckily for the Iron Ranger and the former NHLer, they only needed one try.
With the record behind them, they want to be inspirational and challenge others to set records.
Chorske envisions a fun, community event where others can try and make their mark.
“We might be the first two to set a record, but now we want to challenge other people – kind of like the ice bucket challenge.’’
After working on his mechanics and getting physically fit, Lamppa believes others have it in them to set records. “If I can do it, you can do it. We want to be inspirational to other people.’’
“Anyone can set a world record,’’ Chorske said. It wasn’t easy, but it’s possible.’’