Breaking News Bar
updated: 5/2/2014 1:36 PM

Moving picture: Rolling Meadows man shares love of hockey

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • Video: Moving Picture: Player/Coach

  • Gerry Dudziak of Rolling Meadows, the captain of "Gerry's Kids," an over-40 hockey team, passes the puck as an opponent closes in during a game in Park Ridge.

       Gerry Dudziak of Rolling Meadows, the captain of "Gerry's Kids," an over-40 hockey team, passes the puck as an opponent closes in during a game in Park Ridge.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Gerry Dudziak of Rolling Meadows, the captain of "Gerry's Kids," an over-40 hockey team, leads his team during a game in Park Ridge.

       Gerry Dudziak of Rolling Meadows, the captain of "Gerry's Kids," an over-40 hockey team, leads his team during a game in Park Ridge.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Dudziak instructs his granddaughter, Nina Griffiths, 8, left, also of Rolling Meadows, during a Mite Majors hockey practice at the West Meadows Ice Arena.

       Dudziak instructs his granddaughter, Nina Griffiths, 8, left, also of Rolling Meadows, during a Mite Majors hockey practice at the West Meadows Ice Arena.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Gerry Dudziak of Rolling Meadows smiles while coaching the hockey team of his granddaughter, Nina Griffiths. At right, Dudziak instructs his granddaughter, Nina Griffiths, 8, left, also of Rolling Meadows, during a Mite Majors hockey practice at the West Meadows Ice Arena.

       Gerry Dudziak of Rolling Meadows smiles while coaching the hockey team of his granddaughter, Nina Griffiths. At right, Dudziak instructs his granddaughter, Nina Griffiths, 8, left, also of Rolling Meadows, during a Mite Majors hockey practice at the West Meadows Ice Arena.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Dudziak laughs with his granddaughter, Nina Griffiths, after practice.

       Dudziak laughs with his granddaughter, Nina Griffiths, after practice.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Dudziak and his granddaughter, Nina, remove their skates after practice at the West Meadows Ice Arena.

       Dudziak and his granddaughter, Nina, remove their skates after practice at the West Meadows Ice Arena.
    Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

 
 

Hockey veteran Gerry Dudziak, 56, of Rolling Meadows is passing his love of the game down to his granddaughter as she competes in a league where most of the participants are boys.

Dudziak, the captain of an over-40 team, coaches his granddaughter, Nina Griffiths, 8, also of Rolling Meadows, in the Mite Majors developmental league.

There, he helps lead Nina and her teammates as they practice once or twice each week, then during games on Saturdays.

"We really have a great time," Dudziak said. "It's kind of bonded us together because we're both hockey players. She's kind of taken after grandpa."

At the Mite Majors level, games are played across the ice with movable pads used to create boundaries. Games are faster and feature more scoring for the younger players when compared to games played on the full length of the ice.

"She scores a lot of goals, especially against her grandpa" when he's playing goal, Dudziak said.

Dudziak started playing hockey on outdoor rinks, or "ponds," with the neighborhood kids when he was a youth.

When he was 11, he and a friend signed up for the Arlington Heights Rangers hockey team. He later went on to play with the Fremd High School club team.

After graduating from high school in 1976, Dudziak tried out for the only non-scholarship spot available on the Northern Michigan University Division 1 team, but he was the last person cut. He returned home and played two years for Harper College in Palatine, then for two years at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb.

During that time, he married and started a family. When his kids were growing up, his daughter participated in figure skating and his son skated recreationally, but neither played hockey.

Dudziak joined a men's league team around 1980 and eventually became the captain of a team called "Gerry's Kids." Eleven of the 14 players are older than 50, and seven are older than 55.

Even though he is battling knee problems and has a little trouble keeping up with the younger players, Dudziak plays strong defense and manages to catch his breath by changing shifts frequently.

"I still love it. I don't ever plan on quitting," Dudziak said. "I want to play until the cows come home."

Share

Interested in reusing this article?

Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.

The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.

Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Name * Company Telephone * E-mail *

Message (optional)

Success - Reprint request sent Click to close
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here