Mark Sertich (1921-2020) was the oldest hockey player in the world at the age of 99. With his Signature handlebar mustache, he was known as “Sertie” by his teammates.
Mark was born in Ashland, WI in 1921. Mark was the son of hard-working Eastern European immigrants. Mark was a 1939 graduate of Denfeld High School and later attended The Duluth Business School. He married his wife, Virginia, in 1942. In late 1942, Mark was called to serve in the US Army. Mark trained with the 3rd Army, 11th Armored Division at Fort Benning in Georgia and served under General George Patton’s European command. Mark was a high-speed radio operator in the Armored Division and saw combat including the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. Mark was a highly decorated veteran. During the three years he spent in World War II, Mark’s unit liberated the Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria.
Mark and Virginia raised seven children in their home in West Duluth. After 42 years working at the Peavey Company (which later became Con-Agra), Mark retired at age 62. He then competed in, and finished seven Grandma’s Marathons, The Senior Olympics, and 11 in-line marathons.
For over 40 years, Mark traveled every summer to Santa Rosa, CA to participate in the Snoopy Senior World Hockey Tournament. One of his most notable teammates was Charles Schultz. Mark achieved local, national, and international recognition as he continued play competitive ice hockey well into his 90s.
In 2017, Guinness World Records certified Mark at the age of 96 as the Oldest Living Competitive Ice Hockey Player in The World. In May 2019 Mark added to his impressive list of awards when he was inducted into the Duluth Entertainment Center Athletic Hall of Fame.
Mark continued to play hockey at the age of 99 when he was diagnosed with metastatic cancer and later passed away from a stroke.
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