By Bob Mathson
Is there a High School Hockey National Championship? Just ask New Trier, Glenbrook North or Loyola and all three will tell you absolutely and New Trier may even show you the Championship plaque for the first two years of the tournament – which took place in 2010 and 2011 in Bensenville, Illinois. That’s right, an Illinois High School hockey team won the National Championship two years in a row!
If Illinois participated in the first two years of the Tournament, what happened in 2012 and 2013? Was the tournament cancelled? Was Illinois not invited back? The first two years’ of the Tournament was hosted by the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois to get the Tournament “off the ground”. In the third and all years’ thereafter, the tournament, like all other USA National Tournaments was awarded on a bid basis. In 2012, Salt Lake City, Utah hosted the tournament and in 2013 Coral Springs, Florida was awarded the tournament. So, the tournament was not cancelled and in fact took place in two beautiful cities.
Well if the National tournament has been continuing, was Illinois not invited back? Illinois was invited to participate and will be again next year when Omaha, Nebraska will host the 2014 National High School Hockey Tournament from March 26th through March 30th. The problem has been Illinois is the last State to declare its State Champion in the country. For example, this year National’s was held from March 20 – 24 and the Illinois State Championship game was played on March 24th. Obviously, the dates are in conflict with each other.
The Chicago Blackhawks and the Wirtz family began the tradition of playing the High School Championship game at the old Stadium in 1987 and for 26 years they have hosted our state championship game. It is indeed an honor and a privilege for our high school players to play at the United Center and we are grateful for the support provided by both the Blackhawks and the Wirtz family for youth hockey in Illinois.
Is there a way to avoid this conflict so that Illinois can be represented in the National High School Tournament? This is a topic that will be addressed in the fall when the High School Committee meets with the High School organizations -stay tuned!
Categories: High School