Hockey is not usually what you would think of as a "lifetime" sport. But it is at the Ozaukee Ice Center. There they have a club with players in their 50s, their 60s, their 70s and one special player that just turned 91.
Gene Wagner still plays hockey every Tuesday and Friday morning, including on Friday May 18th, his 91st birthday.
"I said Gene, how long have you been playing hockey?" remembered Bob Hemke, the commissioner of the Bald Eagles club Wagner plays with. "He said well, I started skating when I was 4 years old, but I didn't start playing hockey till I was 8. So, he's got 83 years of hockey experience under his belt. And it shows."
Gene is an original member of the Ozaukee Ice Center's Bald Eagles Club. It's an over-60 (for the most part) club that plays twice a week through the fall, winter and spring and has been for almost 20 years now.
"His stick is as heavy as a 2x4 but he's a tough son of a gun and he still can shoot and stick-handle." said Guy Gosselin, Grafton resident, head coach of the gold medal winning US Paralympic sled hockey team and former Ozaukee Ice Center manager. "We just love watching him. Love having him come to the rink."
Gene showed those skills off on his birthday, scoring five goals along with two assists.
"They're letting me shoot!" Wagner said from the bench.
Gene's secret to being 91 and not just staying upright on the ice but playing defense and scoring?
"I keep in good condition." he said. "If anything is wrong with me I go to the doctor, get it fixed up. Start all over again."
If Gene isn't on the ice, you'll usually find him on the golf course. And most days, he leaves the cart at the clubhouse in favor of walking.
"I stay pretty active." he added. "I feel better if I'm moving around anyway."
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