Meet Mark Sertich, a 95-Year-Old Hockey Player
At 95 years young, Mark Sertich is listed as the world’s oldest active hockey player, and while you might wonder how long he’ll continue playing, he doesn’t have any immediate plans to hang up his helmet and pads.
Sertich exercises on a daily basis, pushing himself to maintain the strength and agility he needs on the ice. Push-ups, sit-ups, stretches, he does it all. He’s dealt with his fair share of injuries too — both shoulders are shot. He recently suffered two fractured ribs and a punctured lung.
“I’m a living relic, I guess,” says Sertich. But this is a relic with a mighty wrist shot and a motivation to be out with the younger players who push him as much as he pushes them.
Sertich has been playing ice hockey for 85 years, and he finds that the sport is a fantastic way to bring a community together, like the community he loves in Duluth, Minnesota. Sertich plays with the same team, his “hockey family,” made up of significantly younger players, three times a week.
“I very seldom think of what my age is,” says Sertich. “It’s just a number. It’s not really a big factor unless you let it be.”
Every time Sertich gets on the ice, he wants to do the best he can. His teammates and their fans support him, and are the first to admit that he can dish it out as good as he can take it. He has no intention of moving to a senior center, as he loves to be surrounded by younger people. He believes it “kind of opens up the world a little bit for you.”
Sertich’s competitive nature has helped him keep going. Oh, and his secret weapon? His mustache. Sertich claims that opponents lose focus when they see an older man with a mustache that curls at each end facing off against them, and it gives him the upper hand.
Mark Sertich fondly recalls when he turned 80, and his teammates had a get-together for him, where they proposed that Sertich could from then on play as long as he wanted at no cost. He has obviously taken full advantage of that offer, and played for free for the last fifteen years. It’s this kind of respect that Sertich admires from the younger players, but he also likes to serve as an inspiration to them.