At first glance, one would never mistake Vivian Elder for someone who enjoys the rough and tumble sport of hockey.
But Elder, OTC’s dean of academic services and a former ballerina, is addicted to the sport that she just started playing 10 years ago. Today, she is a league player and has shared the ice with well-known former and current St. Louis Blues hockey players.
“I was very quiet and introverted,” said Elder, a Springfield native who attended Greenwood High School and Missouri State University. “In hockey, you stand up for yourself. I wish I would have taken it up earlier.”
Elder, who started teaching full-time at OTC in 2005, didn’t know how to skate when she stepped onto the ice to follow her husband, Shaun, who was a high school hockey player who grew up in Utah and plays hockey when the Mediacom Ice Rink opened.
“He was playing and it was just me sitting in the stands freezing, watching him,” she said. “We would go hang out afterwards. I was thinking they burnt calories and I sat on an uncomfortable bench in the freezing cold, so in 2005, I decided to buy equipment and start to play.”
She joined a team and just threw herself on the ice to learn to skate and play.
“It wasn’t fun for the first year. I wasn’t good at it,” she said. “Then, it became fun.”
But there were growing pains. Like the time she broke her collarbone defending her husband during a game.
“Someone was being a jerk to my husband. The refs didn’t do anything about it,” she said. “Like a dork, I decided to skate at the player as hard as I could. I went to give him a shoulder. He moved and I hit the glass and the bone shattered like a pencil.”
She became such a fan of the game that Elder and her husband annually travel to St. Louis to take part in Blues fantasy camps, playing games with former players like Larry Patey and Bernie Federko and current Blues player Paul Stasny
“Id recommend the sport to others. It can really be fun,” she said.
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