Story last updated at 11/25/2008 - 4:34 pm
The Chicks and Geezers will face off Nov. 29 at 10:45 p.m. at the Treadwell Arena. Both teams hope to raise money for the new girls hockey program. But there's also a lot of pride at stake.
Chick Jan Rumble is ready to, well, rumble.
"We want to smear the old guys all over the ice," she said. "We want to kick some a__."
And she is confident the Chicks are prepared to handle the Geezers. The Chicks lead the series 3-1, and the Geezers are getting older every year.
But the Geezers aren't giving up so easily. Original Geezer and game founder Bill Spear has been scouting for good players who have just tuned 50 - if he can remember their names.
Still, this year the Geezers "promise to have some really old guys," Spear said. He's the oldest of the Geezers, at 65.
"We keep getting older and older," he said. "I don't know if I'll even make the team this year. I'm sort of going out the other end."
The Geezers last won in 2005, when they demolished the Chicks 7-2. What do they still have going for them? Stealth and dishonesty, according to Spear.
"We're wily," he said. "We know how to cheat better. We can trip them."
But will they get away with it?
"That kind of scares me," Rumble said upon hearing that the Geezers had some tricks up their sleeves. "There might be some tripping. That reminds me, I gotta get a ref for that night.
"We'll definitely be on the look-out for tripping and stick handling between the girls' legs. And we have tricks up our sleeves too."
Behind the trash talk, both teams enjoy playing together and raising money to help youth learn to play hockey as well.
Spear came up with the idea for the game shortly after Treadwell Arena opened. He saw it as a fun way to raise money for the Culture Club, an initiative for kids to have an inexpensive way to be involved in hockey.
Plus, he was impressed by the popularity of women's hockey.
"To me, one of the most interesting things about the rink is that the women's programs and leagues are some of the most exciting and active," Spear said. "I just thought it would be kind of a fun game to see how the chicks did."
And they've done well, which Spears is quick to admit - at least when he doesn't have his game face on.
"The women have gotten so good, it's just been gratifying to see," he said.
Now that the Culture Club is up and running, this year's Chicks and Geezers game will try to raise money to support a new girls hockey program. Until this year, there haven't been opportunities for girls to learn to play without teaming up with boys.
Myiia Whistler, one of the Chicks, helped get the program started and is one of the coaches.
Since September, 18 girls ages 7 to 12 have been gathering on the ice Saturday mornings to learn skills and play small 3-on-3 games. Because they share the ice with another group, they are able to keep the program inexpensive. With money raised at the Chicks and Geezers game, Whistler hopes to be able to rent the full sheet of ice to let the girls play a real game.
"I definitely have a couple of girls who would not play at all if they didn't have this opportunity," Whistler said. "They get a chance of work at their own pace. They're just now coming into their own. It's cool to see the self-confidence build."
As someone who has played in both women's and co-ed leagues herself, Whistler recognizes that it can be trickier playing against men.
"It's a little different playing against guys," she said. "They're a little bigger, and stronger in different ways."
New talent, old hands
Of course, strength changes with age. And as the Geezers are becoming older, the Chicks are getting some strong young talent.
"We have some new talents that's come to town," Rumble said - like the new hotshot Carlisle Doria, who at 26 is the youngest of the Chicks. Most of the women are between 30 and 45.
So they're safe for a few years, because once they turn 50, Geezers with Breezers will be trying to recruit them, Spear said.
There's no rule that Geezers have to be men, but Spears hasn't had any luck finding women who are old enough and willing to admit it.
But something must be said for learning from experience, right?
"A lot of the guys have skated more years, for whatever that's worth," Spear said. "We can't even up the series but we can catch up this year."
And even if they lose, they still get to party with the Chicks afterwards. And don't let the gray hair fool you: the Geezers are still "party animals," Spear said.
"If you have to get beat, it's good to get beat by those good-looking women," he said.
Katie Spielberger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.