By Ross Forman
The 23rd annual High School Holiday Hockey Classic is Dec. 26-29 at The Edge Ice Rink in Bensenville, featuring many of the top teams in the state, along with Missouri powerhouse Christian Brothers College (CBC). Tickets are $5 for students and $7 for adults with all proceeds supporting Chicago Blackhawks Charities.
Games start Monday and Tuesday at 7 a.m., and the last games those nights start at 8:25 p.m. The elite eight and the semifinals will be played on Dec. 28, and the championship game is Thursday, Dec. 29, starting at 12 noon.
Defending state champion New Trier Green is a favorite, but the Trevians are in the toughest pool, as it also features Neuqua Valley, Notre Dame and Providence.
Barrington, Glenbard and New Trier Blue are joined in the Glenn Hall Division by St. Ignatius of Cleveland.
CBC will face Glenbrook North, Stevenson and Wheaton in the Denis Savard Division.
Fenwick and Mt. Carmel from the Catholic League will be joined by Maine Township and Waubonsie Valley in the Bobby Hull Division.
And finally, the Tony Esposito Division features Brother Rice, Lake Forest, Naperville Central and St. Viator.
Click HERE for Game Schedules and Brackets
Looking into my Crystal Ball, here’s how I see the playoffs shaking out:
• New Trier Green will defeat Glenbrook North 3-2 in overtime of the semifinals on a goal by John Huber.
• Providence will easily topple New Trier Blue, 6-2, with a 2-goal game from Jake Rott.
• In the Championship Game, Ryan Iaciancio will turn away 40 shots, leading the Celtics to a 5-4 win over Green.
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.