Director Max Haben was one day into a shooting a documentary about the world’s oldest hockey player when COVID-19 put a stop to the project. Duluth’s Mark Sertich was still skating when he turned 99 in July. He died on Aug. 24 from complications of a stroke.
Haben wrote the following on the Vimeo description:
A year and half ago I moved back to Duluth, MN and was told about a 98 year old hockey player who was living in my neighborhood. The local legend surrounding his story was enough to peak my interest and so I began exploring the idea of a documentary. This started with a visit to the hockey arena where Mark was still lacing up skates and playing 3-5 times per week with a group of local firemen. I searched the arena for Mark with no luck until one of the players mentioned he had just left and might still be in the locker room. I hustled down and was lucky enough to catch “Serty” just before he got to his car in the parking lot. I explained my interest in the story and was surprised by his immediate openness to the idea.
Unfortunately we only got one day of filming in before Covid hit. I was selfishly bummed about the film but was more concerned about Mark making it through the pandemic. I wasn’t so much concerned about the virus as I was about him not being able to play hockey. Of course that didn’t stop Mark from continuing to stay in shape and working out in his home every day.
It was about a week ago that I learned of Mark’s death from a stroke. The film was an afterthought at this point but I figured I’d at least share the little bit of footage and interview we got with Mark. Of course I was disappointed as I thought this would’ve made a great longer form documentary but in the end I’m simply grateful for the little bit of time I got to spend with such a beautiful soul. Mark passed way just 11 months shy of 100. This is dedicated to Mark, Duluth, and the game of hockey he loved so dearly.
The video is directed and edited by Haben, with cinematography by Kellen Witschen.
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