Former hockey pro still hitting the ice at 77, playing with teammates half his age
More than 50 years after he hit the ice as a pro, Moncton’s Oscar Gaudet still loves the game.
In fact, the 77-year-old is known to lace up and play up to four times a week against players half his age.
The former pro-hockey player, who signed a contract with the Chicago Blackhawks at the age of 22, played two games in the NHL before playing part of his career with the farm team, the Dallas Black Hawks.
“He was known as a playmaker. He could ditch the puck off and create offensive opportunities like no one else,” said his son, Richard Gaudet.
“He has the exact same passion. If you didn’t have that passion, you could not play at the age of 77.”
Gaudet still wears his old helmet, complete with a rusty cage. And he vows to keep playing … for a while.
“As long as I don’t break down,” he said with a laugh.
The guys he plays with now are often in awe of his energy and skill.
“It is embarrassing sometimes. He makes a fool of me but that’s all right,” said 39-year-old teammate, Mario Caissie.
Gaudet, who is also known as The Big O, says playing now keeps him young.
“I think playing with the young guys here, it’s a lot of fun,” he said.
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Gaudet is heading back to Dallas in March to celebrate the Black Hawks’ 1969 championship win. He says he’s eager to catch up with old teammates he hasn’t seen in half a century, but will also be missing some dear friends.
“There’s seven guys that passed away,” he said.
That’s why Gaudet says he’s grateful — and humble — that he’s still able to take part in the game he loves so much.
“I thank the good Lord every day,’ he said.
— With reporting from Shelley Steeves
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