Flint-Lapeer oldtimers hockey team competes for gold in Michigan Senior Olympics
TROY, Mich. - It might look like a typical hockey game at the Troy Sports Center, but closer inspection shows the competitors aren't the age you would expect for a hockey player.
"We're not young chickens anymore. But we're still out there able to compete and just have a great time,” said Art Autio, who also plays on the Flint-Lapeer oldtimers hockey team.
At the Michigan Senior Olympics, people age 50 and older compete in a variety of sports, including hockey, volleyball, and even power-lifting.
Everyone on the Flint-Lapeer oldtimers hockey team is age 60 and up.
John Butterfield, who's 65, says he's living proof that age is just a number.
"A lot of people that are my age can't climb a flight of stairs, and we play year round a lot of our guys. Been very fortunate that haven't had an injury to where you can't do it. Cold beer, that's very important too," said Butterfield with a laugh.
The Flint-Lapeer oldtimers play in their own league for much of the year.
Last year they took home the Michigan Senior Olympics trophy, which they say is no easy task.
"It's definitely another level from what you normally skate, not saying that you don't skate hard in your regular league, but when you come to the Olympics the players are just a notch better and you better step your game up a little more," described Butterfield.
"With back to back games 3 days consecutively it really pushes us to our endurance,” said Autio.
On Friday the winning team will take home the trophy, but the Flint-Lapeer oldtimers say no matter who wins, the real fun comes from being together on the rink.
"Winning is important, that's what you play for, but getting along with the comradery is a close second,” said Butterfield.
"It's just great guys that come from different personalities but we all have one common interest, and it's playing hockey and staying in shape and having fun," explained Autio.
The Flint-Lapeer oldtimers have their own hockey league with a tournament in April, and you can visit their website for more information.