BEAVERTON - They meet every week, sometimes twice, at the Winterhawks Skating Center in Beaverton with their skates and sticks.

They re not the 'hawks,' but they do share something in common with Portland s junior hockey team.

Every Wednesday, I come and play hockey here, says Martin Bush. It's awesome, great bunch of guys. We play all year round and everybody out here just has a blast.

It s pickup hockey every Wednesday and Friday. Players are 18 and older, some in their 60s. Not a bad way to spend the lunch hour and get a workout.

Probably the best exercise there is playing ice hockey, says Tony Graham. It's a hoot. It's the best. It sure beats standing on a treadmill for 30 minutes, I'll tell you that.

For most, they started as youngsters and now, years later, the love for the sport is still burning.

I started when I was seven, says 24-year-old Michael Hughes. I grew up playing the game. I stopped playing for a while. It's good be back out here, just getting some exercise and loving the greatest game there is. It's fun.

They play for an hour starting at 11:30 a.m. with close to a dozen players on hand. The skill level is varied. Sometimes, they don t even keep score and Graham says they avoid injuries.

You ve got equipment on. Guys here all have to go to work when they're done, just like me, so we all take it easy. We have a great time, he said.

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