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McKee said she still remembers her first time on the ice.

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Wright said it gives her not only a double dose of hockey, but something to look forward to in the winter.

Joey McKee relishes every game she plays, every shot she faces, and every save she makes.

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For Lorie Springall, who helped found the league with Sharon Beuner, the pace of its growth has been nothing short of amazing.

"It was like I had won an Oscar and all the lights were shining on me, and it was like, 'Wow, I finally made the big time,' " she said.

McKee won't divulge her age other than to say she's "way over 60," but she said she isn't letting her age slow her down, though she said she is firmly planted in the fun league.

She has been playing in the league for the last seven years, but got her start a few years before that, having been inspired by her two hockey playing sons.

For Wright, the inspiration to start playing sprang more from being a hockey mom.

"My son got into (hockey) and I realized I was enjoying going to games and watching his hockey more than he was," Converse White Black Line

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Fun and competition on ice

Sault Ste. Marie's WHL celebrates its tenth year this year, and from humble beginnings with 48 players and a handful of teams playing on a natural ice surface in Echo Bay, it has grown to three divisions, 20 teams and a whopping 286 players.

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These days, games are played in the city, at the Rankin Arena, and other city indoor ice surfaces. The league also boasts three divisions now: a fun division, a middle division and an open division.

Some, like Springall, 48, have been playing all their lives. She grew up playing hockey and competed multiple times at the Senior A level as part of Team Ontario, winning gold in 1983 and silver in 1985 at Canadian championships and competing at the first ever world's in 1987.

"I don't want to get hurt, because I promised my boys if I get seriously hurt I'll stop," said McKee.

"A lot of them have played provincial championships, college hockey, have come back home, got married and had babies, but they're good hockey players," said Springall. "We have slap shots in that league, and goalies who know how to take the slap shots."

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Sheree Wright grew up around hockey one of her brothers, Terry Wright, was a goalie in the Ontario Hockey Association but never really played herself until she tried women's rec 10 years ago.

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said Wright, 54, who plays in Converse Size 5 Uk the league's middle division.

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"That first year, we advertised and drove all over and put notices up," said Springall. "We've never had to do that since."

night because the team I was on, nobody could skate backwards."

"I'm not as fast as anybody, but I do work out at home. I'm on the treadmill every day," she said. "It's something where, even though I do let goals in, I try to give it my all."

The league's more competitive athletes play in the open division.

"They've rushed their kids to hockey games and now that their kids are older and off to university, they get to play," said Springall. "I so admire that."

But an equally large number of the women who have been drawn to the league are absolute newcomers, having picked up hockey sticks and strapped on hockey skates for the first time in their lives in their 30s and 40s.

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And it's hard to blame her for it. While hockey has been a lifelong pursuit for McKee, it is one the local grandmother has only been able to enjoy for about the last decade.

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"The only position available was goalie and I said, 'Let's go for it,'" said McKee. "I got 60 or 70 shots every Converse Walking Boots

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seeing the puck, (gathering) with the girls in the dressing room after. It's a rush. It's a rush, and it just rocks."

"If we have two games a week, I'm in my glory," said McKee. "It's getting on the ice, Converse Ladies Trainers

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