Hockey may seem a bit too rough and tough for some, but for 82-year-old Linda Sinrod, the game continues to be an important part of her lifestyle.
For the past 47 years, the Lorton, Virginia, USA, resident has been passionate about ice hockey, making her the oldest hockey player (female).
But Linda wasn’t always a hockey player. In fact, she was a figure skater in college but hadn’t skated since graduating.
Linda’s love for hockey began at the age of 35, when she visited a frozen pond nearby to skate and someone asked her if she wanted to try ice hockey.
She enjoyed the sport so much, she decided to join a team as a founding member of the first women’s ice hockey team in the Washington DC area.
Everyone on the team was at least 10 years younger than Linda, but she didn’t let it intimidate her.
She played for 10 years and then decided she was too old but promised to come back for a season after turning 50.
That never happened...but it wasn't long before she made a comeback.
“After retiring, I looked up what my old teammates were doing and found one was coaching the Prince William Wildcats team, so at age 67 I decided to join them," said Linda.
"She [the coach] tried to discourage me as the others were at least 20 years younger, but I’m not easily discouraged.”
Linda played with Prince William Wildcats until she was 75, at which point the team asked her to leave since she wasn’t competitive enough.
“Since I am older and therefore slower than anyone else, it is easier for the opposing players to catch up to me and steal the puck away,” said Linda.
“Therefore, my own team won’t pass to me so I lose practise carrying the puck and having an opportunity to shoot the goal.
“It is also harder for me to catch the opposing player or get to them before they make a pass or to get a loose puck.”
Not wanting to give up her passion, Linda began playing for a women’s league at an ice rink where the teams were picked twice a year and played against one another at the rink.
Incredibly, Linda doesn’t train for the sport, but instead plays to have fun.
Although she would have training sessions on the ice when playing for a team, she no longer practises before games and has instead found other ways of staying in shape.
“I used to practise puck handling in my basement and I have a room where I would shoot pucks against a wall 15 feet away where I had outlined a goal,” Linda recalled.
“When I played with my first team, I shot 23,250 pucks and when I came back to play at age 67, I shot 21,923 pucks.”
Linda’s routine now involves weight training twice a week and riding an exercise bike or cycling outdoors three times a week.
“Except when I am playing ice hockey. Then it’s twice a week.”
Linda says playing ice hockey doesn’t exhaust her, although she does feel it once she’s off the ice.
“I’ve always been the oldest person playing so have always been curious as to how old the oldest female hockey player was and eventually as I got to be 80, I checked Guinness World Records to see how old the oldest was,” said Linda.
“At that time, it was 72. Although, by the time I decided to apply it was something like 80 and 7 days.”
Linda would like to break her own record and encourages those wanting to learn how to play hockey to sign up for “learn to play” classes.
“It’s possible to play at any age!”
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