Date of Award


Publication Type


Degree Name





Aging, Hockey, Older adults, Physical activity, Physical literacy, Sports


P. Van Wyk


C. Greig




The many benefits of physical activity are well established. Nonetheless, there remains a need for qualitative research on aging and sports focused on the normalization of sport for older adults, and the increased opportunity for sport participation in older age. Aging and sport research, which has primarily focussed on older elite athletes, has found older adults value health-related benefits, social interaction, and resistance of the aging process through sport participation. However, research examining a broader scope of specific sport participation, such as hockey, in older age may provide a distinguished understanding of participation tied to meaning and lifestyle factors. Therefore, the primary objectives of this study were to understand 1) how participating in hockey in later life influences the aging experience, and 2) meaning and motivation for hockey participation in older age. Semi-structured interviews were administrated to 10 Canadian men aged 50 years or older who continued to participate in hockey. Through thematic analysis of the interviews, eight themes were identified: 1) physical ability and injuries, 2) social interaction and camaraderie, 3) relationship of hockey and PAL, 4) competition and leisure, 5) youthfulness, 6) identity and pride, 7) accessibility and opportunity, and 8) mental/cognitive health. Through the interpretation of the results, an Active Aging Wheel of Engagement approach was presented. Overall, hockey was more than a mere physical activity, it was a multi-faceted contributor to many aspects of these older men’s lives as it fulfilled several of their self-perceived motivations and desires. The participants conceptualized hockey as an all-encompassing approach to successful aging, perceiving the sport as a healthy and integral physically active leisure in their lives, rather than a risky and dangerous endeavor in later life.

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