Summer fun is over and as the temperature outside is getting colder, high school hockey action inside is heating up.
Welcome to the 2014-15 high school hockey season.
New Trier Green is the defending state champion (Red Division), and with very few players gone from last year’s team, the Trevians look like the early favorite to be skating, once again, at the United Center next March. The Trevians stopped Glenbrook North 2-1 for its most recent state title – and a new, huge banner at the Winnetka Ice Rink showcases all titles won by the school dating back decades.
Loyola Maroon edged New Trier White 2-1 in overtime for the White Division title last season. If White returns to the title game this season, it will be with Rob Malstrom as its head coach as the former Blue head coach is now leading New Trier’s third varsity team.
Bob Melton remains as coach of New Trier Green and also this season is the head coach of New Trier Blue, too.
Waubonsie Valley was the No. 4 seed for the Combined Division tournament last season, yet when the final horn blew at the United Center, it was Waubonsie on top of the mountain following a convincing 3-0 win over co-op Glenbard.
New Trier needed two overtime sessions to slip past Loyola for the girls’ state championship, 3-2.
In JV, it was Providence Catholic 4-1 winners over Fenwick Black last season, while Rockford cruised past Plainfield, 7-3, for the Combined Division title.
But last year’s titles mean nothing now.
Will the Trevians repeat?
Will Naperville Central skate at the United Center, as many predict is likely?
Will Rockford return to Combined Division glory?
Will Latin School of Chicago or Barrington have standout seasons in the girls game again and break into the elite status?
So many questions, only time – and a load of slapshots – will answer.
Barrington has shown early on that this could be a memorable season for the Broncos, who captured the championship of the 2014 Gator Cup, hosted Crystal Lake South. Barrington defeated Deerfield 3-1 for the title on Sunday, Sept. 14.
The host Gators also had a strong showing in the preseason tournament, as did Carmel.
PREP Black defeated Highland Park 4-1 to capture the JV title in the 2014 Gator Cup. Carmel and PREP Gold also were impressive in the JV ranks.
The Chicago Pre-Season Challenge, held Sept. 26-28 in Bensenville, has a varsity and JV division. That same weekend, the Wheels of Fire Tournament in Darien also has high school action.
- When the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was all the rage this summer, many area players and coaches were nominated and accepted. Stevenson coaches Jim and Tom Wood endured the icy water, and then challenged New Trier’s Melton. Loyola Gold coach D.J. LaVarre had the Zamboni at Winnetka empty on him.
- Player To Watch: Will Yorke (No. 23), a tall, talented forward for St. Ignatius. Last season, in 19 Catholic League games, he had 19 goals and 15 assists, including 4 power play tallies. He had 4 goals in a win over Brother Rice and 3 in a 6-5 loss to Mt. Carmel. Yorke also had a 3- and 4-assist game last season. York was fourth in league scoring last season.
Ross Forman has written about Illinois High School hockey for more than 15 years, and is the only sportswriter to have covered Illinois High School hockey every year during that stretch. He played locally and then at Indiana University before becoming a referee. Ross was a referee for the State Championship game several years ago at the United Center. Contact Ross by email at Rossco814@aol.com.
Categories: Ross Forman's High School Hockey