Miracle on ice: 94-year-old hockey player dominates in the rink

DULUTH, Minn. -- In northern Minnesota, it's not uncommon to find a guy in his nineties looking back on his glory days as a hockey player - but it is uncommon to find a guy still living them.

Like his handle bar mustache, Mark Sertich's hockey days appear to be never ending. "You've gotta challenge yourself a little bit," said Sertich. "I think that's what keeps you going."

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Mark Sertich straps on his ice skates.

CBS News

He started playing as a little kid and is still putting on pads and gloves at the unbelievable age of 94.

"Just putting all the equipment on is a miracle in itself for a lot of us, and he does it three or four days a week," one player said.

Sertich plays in pick-up games, and every time he comes to the rink he is the oldest by a generation. Some of the guys could even be his great grandchildren. Yet he keeps right up with them, almost as if he's oblivious to his age.

Why not play something safer, like shuffleboard? "I've heard of it but I've never played it," he said. But it really would be safer. A few months ago he took a hard hit and ended up with two fractured ribs and a punctured lung.

At 94, doctors told him he would have to sit out at least six weeks. He was back in three. "I just love the game, I guess," Sertich explained.

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Mark Sertich in the rink.

CBS News

He's good at it, too. The day CBS News visited, he scored six goals -- more than anyone else playing. "Well, I should have had more but I only had 6 today," he said.

Adding insult to injury, not only does Sertich beat the pants off the other players, he takes their money too. Way back when he was just 80, the other guys in the group offered to pay his skating fees for life, thinking how much longer could it be?

That was 14 years ago.

"It's killing us. It's killing our budget," fellow hockey player Dane Youngblom said.

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Mark Sertich

CBS News

"I figured, gee, that's a pretty good deal," Sertich said. He said he doesn't take the deal because he's cheap, but because he loves the game. "No, I so enjoy what I'm doing."

And he has no plans to stop. In fact, Mark invited CBS News to come back and watch him play -- when he's 100.

"You gotta think that way, don't you?"

  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.