“He’s still got the edge,” Weiss said. “He’s still out there hustling. He doesn’t take crap from anybody. He’s still a little chippy, but it’s great.”
Ludy’s big thing is competing in USA Hockey tournaments around the country. He’s traveled to Las Vegas; Scottsdale, Arizona; Rochester, New York; Blaine, Minnesota; Coral Gables, Florida; Laurel, Maryland and Danbury, Connecticut. For the last 15 years, he’s been playing in tournaments with a group of guys from Illinois as well as the Central Massachusetts Rusty Blades.
During his extensive run playing in USA Hockey-sanctioned events, Ludy and his teams have taken home four championships and seven runner-up finishes. Ludy’s teams won Adult National Championships in 2011, ’13, ’15 and ’16 in 50-and-Over divisions.
“Everyone knows he takes this seriously,” Weiss said. “At 81, he’s still as competitive as I’ve ever seen any human being.”
Winning is fun, but that’s not what it’s about for Ludy.
“It’s all about competing,” he said. “I’d rather lose 2-1 in overtime than beat somebody 10-0. It’s all about even competition.”
Ludy, who helped found and coach the Illinois State University men’s club hockey program, is all about playing hockey with the guys. Nicknamed “Emil the Cat” by his hockey friends, Ludy could have an hour-long game but be at the rink for another four hours after watching games and schmoozing, noted Weiss.
Ludy is a well-known and well-liked guy by his teammates and opponents. Weiss has plenty of stories about Ludy, who is a big jokester.
“He is the biggest name-dropper we have ever heard,” Weiss joked. “A lot of these ex-pros are still playing when they’re older, and every time he comes into the locker room for his pregame speech, he will drop a name from an ex-pro that he talked to at a tournament. He does it every time. It’s hysterical.”
Ludy already has a couple hockey tournaments lined up for later this year. He’ll compete in Nashville in July and play for the second time in the Canada 150 Cup in Ontario in October. He takes inspiration from playing with and against guys that are older.
“There’s an amazing number of 80-year-olds that are still playing,” Ludy said.
This won’t be Ludy’s final year ever playing hockey, not by a long shot.
“My goal is Sertich — 99,” Ludy said.
Duluth, Minnesota, native Mark Sertich played until he was 99 years old. He passed away in July 2020.
In Ludy’s mind, he has 19 more years left in him. It’s safe to say, nothing will hold him back from achieving that goal.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.