A woman who grew up in a part of the US dubbed The State of Ice Hockey realised her dream of playing the sport long after moving to Woking – and this week she will represent Great Britain in a major tournament.

Susan Adams, 54, hails from Minneapolis in Minnesota, the Upper Midwestern state of the US that is renowned for its love of ice hockey.

She has lived in Woking for 20 years and has held British citizenship since 2021.

Although as a child she spent a lot of time skating, this was only in figures, despite her desire to play ice hockey.

Five years ago, she finally took up the sport with Windsor Knights – and now she is part of the Great Britain Ice Crushers squad taking part in the 2024 Winter World Masters Games in the Lombardy region of northern Italy.

The ice hockey section of the extravaganza, which runs  from tomorrow (Friday) until January 21, takes place in Chiavenna. And it will be the first time that Great Britain have taken part in a Masters event – this is the fourth edition of the Games.

Adams, an acupuncturist, told the News & Mail: “I never played at a high level – I’m more of a continual learner. 

“The team going to Italy was organised to be first come gets in. It’s been an amazing group of women to meet and I’m mostly in charge of the social media for the Ice Crushers.  

“Women’s ice hockey is very inclusive because it’s such an under-represented sport here. 

“I tell a lot of people in the clinic it’s never too late to get into something unexpected, to just try something new or old that they love, to keep moving and get stronger.

“I grew up in the snow in Minnesota and spent as much time as I possibly could skating outside at the rink down the road. 

“I have five siblings and we couldn’t afford nice skates, so I was only skating in figures there. 

“However, I always wanted to hockey skate. I travelled a lot in my 20s and 30s and forgot that I could skate indoors where I travelled to.”

And many years later, Adams’ ice hockey career began.

She said: “My son’s ice hockey team-mate’s mum in Bracknell, Debbie Evans, told me she was playing ice hockey and I realised it was my time, at age 49, to start. 

“I joined the Windsor Knights in Slough before lockdown and still play for them.  It’s a mixed rec team. 

“I’ve also played for Slough Sirens.

“I’m still improving, and my story of starting is more about ‘Oh no, I’ve got to play ice hockey before I die because I love the ice’.

“In May last year, Debbie tagged me on a Facebook post that asked who would like to go to Italy for the Winter World Masters Games.

“They were looking for an over-50s team and the organiser is well known in ice hockey for being a pioneer – she’s 63. 

“They couldn’t find enough women over 50 and let in about three women over 44. 

“We have a squad of 18, with our Hawaiian goalie coming from Japan to play. 

“The squad is inclusive, with equal ice time.”

The Ice Crushers will compete against Canada and the US in Italy. Austria were due to take part but dropped out.

Utility player Adams lists Minnesota Wild as her favourite professional team.

Her husband Huw, who she met in Kyoto, Japan, is also an accomplished sportsperson.

She said: “Huw is visually impaired and he’s signed up to join Surrey Visually Impaired Cricket Club. 

“In Japan he got a black belt in karate and a brown belt in aikido. 

“Having Welsh ancestry he’s into rugby. He loves all sports except ice hockey.”