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Calgary set to host 55 plus provincial hockey tournament next week


Hundreds of men and women between the ages of 55 and 85 will lace up April 13-16 for the 55 plus provincial hockey tournament at Cardel South.

There will be 550 players, making up 29 men's and eight women's teams.

Laura Lee Goetjen, a player in the tournament and also its co-chair, says the women's game is really growing in Calgary, and at the provincials.

"Hockey started for us in 2017 with two teams. Last year, we had five teams at the provincials in April and with some real pushing and pulling on my part, we are now at eight teams that are playing in the two categories of 55 and 60," she said.


Goetjen and her identical twin sister, Leslie Ann Kalman, have been playing hockey since 1972.

Kalman says they wanted to try the sport after watching the Summit series between Canada and Russia.

"We were watching hockey played at the international level and of course in Canada everyone thought we were going to win easily and it ended up being an incredible series," she said.

"It just inspired us to want to play this game, so we decided to start playing hockey."


The twins' passion for the game has continued for all of these years and they made it their mission to grow the game and get more women to play hockey.

Goetjen says it's made a big difference for some and that's what has been rewarding.

"It's the joy I see in their faces where they tell me stories about how they were sitting on the couch and how they weren't doing anything and how they might be a little depressed," she said.

"When they come out and they're having such a good time and I get a big hug in the dressing room and a thank-you for saving their life, and I mean that might be a little dramatic but it's how a lot of girls feel, that they have found a passion late in life."

Alison Ostergard is from Dalum, Alta., just outside Drumheller. She was sure her hockey career was over when her team in Drumheller folded, but that turned out not to be the case.


Alison Ostergard is from Dalum, Alta., just outside Drumheller.

She was sure her hockey career was over when her team in Drumheller folded.

She was told to get in touch with the twins and they said to come play in Calgary.

Ostergard says despite the long drive, she hasn't looked back.

"They were very welcoming and very encouraging. I came in and I had so much fun and I've been coming in ever since," she said.

"My opportunities were limited, let's put it that way. And so this was really wonderful for me. It's really motivated me and I'm willing to drive two hours to get here, so it's great."


Kalman is hoping the 55 plus provincials will get more women into the game.

"I think that when you're 55, it's probably an unusual time to take up the sport but more importantly, it will get people to continue playing longer because there's a place for them to play," she said.

"A lot of people have come back to play the game, so they see it as, 'Oh, I stopped a few years ago, so I'd love to come back and play.' We encourage women from all ages and all abilities to get out there and play because there's going to be a place for them to play when they're 55 or 60.

"When they're semi-retired or retired, if they want to play in the day and do something."

All games in the 55 plus hockey tournament will be played at the four arenas at Cardel South. Top Stories

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