Family and friends gathered to celebrate Sertie’s 100th birthday

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Sunday marked the late Mark Sertich’s 100th birthday. ‘Sertie’ is most prominently known as the Guinness Book of World Records’ oldest hockey player. He was also a husband, a father of seven and a World War II veteran. He passed away a month after his 99th birthday last summer, but because he would have turned 100 years old this year, his family and friends still wanted to throw a party in his honor.

Tuesday morning, Sertich’s family and friends were able to gather for their normal birthday tradition.

Last year, they drove by his house to celebrate his birthday due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, it was back to a morning skate followed by some good food.

Sertich started skating with a group of firefighters in a 30 and older league at the old Peterson Arena in West Duluth when he was close to 70 years old. He kept skating well into his 90’s.

Starting in 1983, Sertich traveled to Santa Rosa, California, every summer to play in the Snoopy’s Senior World Hockey Tournament. In 2016, Sertich earned the designation as the world’s oldest hockey player for his participation in the tournament.

Although Sertich wasn’t able to join his friends and family this year for his birthday festivities, it was great to reconnect with the people that enjoyed spending time with him.

"This last year, I haven’t seen his buddies, I haven’t been around the arena much, so it’s just great to come back with the people that he enjoyed spending time with," said his grandson Andy Sertich. "Get my kids and his great grandkids out to kind of tell stories and remember him," he added.

"It was said on the bench one of his old buddies said to me, ‘I got tears in my eyes watching you and your grand kids out here.’ Marko would have just loved to have seen this and be part of it," explained his son Steve Sertich.

"He just had such a good attitude," his friend Dane Youngblom added. "He was just smiling all the time. He was a competitive player, but he was always having a good time and there was nothing that could keep him off the rink."

Sertich passed away on August 24 at the age of 99.