If you’re over a certain age and think your hockey days are behind you, don’t hang up your skates just yet.
Ice hockey. A quintessential New England sport. If you grew up in the area, it’s very likely you played in a pick-up game on a nearby pond – when the ice was thick enough and not covered in snow. Hockey season is long – stretching from September through April and sometimes beyond, but those who love the sport wouldn’t change a thing.
This time last year the Hingham Hawks were finishing up a solid season and they were in second place heading into the playoffs. They had won the League championship the year before, so their expectations were high. This year they were doing well again and were on track for another potential championship. However, due to the pandemic their playoff hopes came to an abrupt end. “When the league cancelled the remainder of the season, we were in second place and ready for a playoff run,” said Hingham resident Paul Gannon.
The Hingham Hawks play at Pilgrim Skating Arena in Hingham and are one of four teams in the Over 60 League. There are 15 members on the team, all of whom have been playing hockey their entire lives. The league options for men, which are broken down by age, have expanded over time to include older players who love the game and want to continue playing. Many of the players in the Over 60 league played in the Over 50 League, the Over 40 League, and so on. Paul started playing with the team a few years ago after playing in other leagues for 10 years. “I started my first year with the Hawks a little late due to knee surgery over the summer. When I finally skated with the team In October, I was excited to play,” said Paul. “I learned quickly that we had a competitive team and a great group of guys. Every week brought us all closer as friends.”
A love of hockey was instilled in all of these players at a young age and is just as strong today as it was back then. Ed LeNormand, who recently turned 76, is the oldest player on the Hawks by almost 10 years. He played hockey for Quincy High and for the Huskies at Northeastern University. Former Hawks captain and longtime teammate Greg Sullivan of Hingham said, “He’s one of the fastest players we’ve got. I hope I’m still playing when I’m 76.”
Greg grew up in Quincy and recalls playing against two of his current teammates when they were in high school. He lived in Quincy and played for Archbishop Williams, and Billy Ketchum and Brad Pierce, both from Hingham, played for Hingham High. They competed against one another regularly. At the time, he said, “the Weymouth Skating Club was the only rink around, and Pee Wees and Bantams were the only leagues available for kids.” With limited resources, the love of the game inspired some creativity. Greg recalls an old warehouse in Quincy where Marina Bay currently stands being used as a skating rink.
These days they are all on the same side of the puck and have been playing together for years. The Hawks formed around 7 years ago when the Over 50 League was started, and prior to that the team was in the Over 40 League and was known as the Warriors. “I’ve been playing hockey my whole life,” said Greg. “The only time I have ever stopped playing was when I was injured.”
The team is already looking forward to getting back on the ice in September. “I’m so glad to have met and played with all my teammates. My hope is we can do this all again this fall,” said Paul. “Having fun and a few laughs is what it’s all about. Winning a few games makes it even better.”
So if you’re over a certain age and think your hockey days are behind you, don’t hang up your skates just yet. The Over 30 League might be right for you. Or perhaps the Over 40 League? Up until last year, the leagues were managed by the New England Senior Hockey League. Now Power Play Hockey runs everything from collecting dues from players to paying for ice time, timekeepers and refs. They also manage the scheduling of practices and games. To learn more about the “Over” leagues, email Power Play Hockey at firstname.lastname@example.org.