- Don’t let age stand in the way of doing the things you love.
Sports are generally a young person’s game. Most athletes retire in their 30s, although a few outliers can make it into their late 40s.
Don’t tell that to Linda Sinrod, though.
Sinrod is officially the world’s oldest female hockey player, as recognized by Guinness World Records. Despite being 82 years old, she actively hits the ice to play games with her team.
And she’s been doing so for the past 47 years. She may have “retired” for a while in the traditional late 40s but a tiger can’t change her stripes.
She returned to the sport at 67 and hasn’t stopped since.
“I’ve always been the oldest person playing, so I have always been curious as to how old the oldest female hockey player was. Eventually, as I got to be 80, I checked Guinness World Records to see how old the oldest was,” said Sinrod.
“At that time, it was 72. Although, by the time I decided to apply it was something like 80 and 7 days.”
So, although she’s now 82, her record is marked for 80. That means Sinrod could break her own record at any point if she wanted to.
Look, we don’t make these rules.
A Late Start
Sinrod hasn’t always been a hockey player. In fact, she was already quite far in years when she got into the game — at least by hockey standards.
Sinrod, born in 1940, used to do figure skating while she was in college. She wasn’t a stranger to the ice, although she hadn’t skated at all after graduating.
In 1975, she decided it was time to get on the ice again. She visited a pond near her home and noticed people were playing hockey.
Somebody asked if Sinrod would like to give the game a try. Sure, she said — and was instantly hooked.
She became so enamored with the sport that she wanted to start playing competitively. However, women’s hockey wasn’t much of a thing at the time.
So, when she couldn’t find a team to join, she started one. Sinrod was a founding member of the first ladies’ ice hockey team in the Washington, D.C. area.
All the other women on the team were 10 years’ Sinrod’s junior — at the minimum. But so what?
She had a great time and played with the team for a decade. After many, many games, she finally decided that she was getting too old for hockey.
And that’s how Sinrod retired. But she insisted she was only taking a break and would return to hockey for one season after she turned 50.
Back in the Game
It did take Sinrod a bit longer than that to pick up the hockey stick again. But surely enough, eventually she did.
“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 Sinrod.
“She [the coach] tried to discourage me, as the others were at least 20 years younger. But I’m not easily discouraged.”
Sinrod got back into the game. And initially, she wasn’t doing badly at all.
“When I played with my first team, I shot 23,250 pucks. When I came back to play at age 67, I shot 21,923 pucks,” explained Sinrod.
For the next eight years, Sinrod played hockey in the Wildcats’ colors. But at 75, the team decided it was time to sit down and talk.
They strongly encouraged Sinrod to leave the team. The team told Sinrod that she was getting slower, making it easier for the opponents to catch her and steal the puck. For that reason, her own teammates were reluctant to pass the puck to her, causing her to forget how to properly carry the puck.
Some may have seen that as a betrayal. But Sinrod took it in her stride — and found a new team to play with.
She discovered an ice rink with an active women’s hockey league. Teams were picked twice a year and they play against each other in the rink — strictly for fun.
She fit right in.
‘It’s Possible to Play at Any Age’
And so, the octogenarian is still on the ice. Sinrod may not be as nimble as she was back in the day, but she plays hockey nonetheless.
Miraculously, she doesn’t attend hockey practice anymore. Instead, she has her own training routine. She lifts weights a week and rides an exercise bike three times a week.
“Except when I am playing ice hockey. Then it’s twice a week,” she said.
Sinrod is a living testament to the fact that if you want to do something, age shouldn’t stop you. With her example, she wants to encourage others to chase their passions — and particularly sign up for hockey classes.
“It’s possible to play at any age!” said Sinrod.