By Rory Reynolds
AN 83-year-old hockey ‘super veteran’ is to represent Scotland against teams from all over the world – 63 years after he first picked up a stick.
Goalkeeper George Black – who can still stop balls going over 70mph – will travel to Holland with his team on Tuesday to take on England and Germany at a seniors’ tournament.
The team – who are all over 65 – are up against whole squads of former international players and have been looking for new recruits for years.
But George and his hockey hopefuls received a big boost when they found out that Edinburgh is to host the Golden Oldies World Hockey Festival in 2011.He said: “I hope Hockey Festival in 2011 will encourage a lot of older people to keep playing sports, or even take them up.
“Our team can hold it’s own – but sometimes we do get gubbed.
“We’ve got three and a half former international players – but teams like England and Germany have eight or nine.
“We’d like to see some of our old international players come back – we could be a formidable team.
“The game may be a bit slower at this level, with a bit less running, but some of these former internationals can still send the ball into the net at some speed.
“I’ve been playing hockey for 63 years now and, as president of Scotland’s LX club for players aged 65 and over, I can vouch for the fact that you don’t have to be in your twenties to enjoy a game or two.
“The pitches here are as good as they can get so we’re all set for 2011 – we just need some new recruits.”
But George himself is no new recruit to the game – the grandfather of five began his passion for hockey after the Second World War ended, where he had served for over three years working in the mines to help the war effort.
He first picked up his stick in 1946 and has never looked back.
He added: “I’ve been all over the world with the game – I’ve toured most of Europe, Canada, Barbados and Australia.
“I’m very fortunate to have good health, I’ve worked with my hands for years and I still play tennis now.
“I’ve been married to my wife Anne since 1956 – and we’ve played hockey, watched hockey and lived hockey.
“I suppose it’s always been part of my life.”