By Chris Waters
At just over the half way point of the season, Lake Forest, Loyola Maroon, and New Trier White are within percentage points at the top of the first varsity division, while Crystal Lake South and New Trier Gray are battling for the lead in the other varsity bracket. At the JV level, Lake Forest, PREP Black, Lake Park, Maine Red, and Kings White are contending for first place in their divisions. Although there is great hockey being played in all of our North Central divisions, there are even more impressive things happening off of the ice.
BG/H/W (Buffalo Grove/Hersey/Wheeling) annually donates money and canned food to help support the Wheeling Township Food Pantry. In addition to a fundraiser game on December 2, 2018, players canvas their neighborhoods to collect food items. Furthermore, players and parents from both teams have volunteered at Feed My Starving Children.
LZMW (Lake Zurich, Mundelein, Wauconda) has also planned a team and family event at Feed My Starving Children this holiday season.
Earlier this year, each of New Trier’s teams raised money for Bear Necessities, an organization which supports the pediatric cancer foundation’s many initiatives. New Trier Hockey club members collected donations for Bear Necessities at local businesses in the Winnetka, Wilmette, Northfield and Glencoe communities on Saturday, September 29th. Individuals and organizations associated with the New Trier Hockey Community could also contribute online, referencing specific New Trier teams.
Coming up on December 2, 2018, at the annual New Trier / Loyola Quad Header, both teams are working together to raise funds for Misericordia. Funds are raised by a number of means including ticket, t-shirt, and baked good sales as well as general donations, as highlighted on our respective clubs’ website. In the spring, New Trier partners with the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (GLASA), to host Seniors on Sleds. This sled hockey event is intended to raise money for, and awareness of, the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (GLASA). New Trier Seniors and GLASA sled hockey athletes combine into two teams for a three-period hockey game. All players will compete using sled hockey equipment that includes specialized ice sleds and hockey sticks with picks that enable the athletes to move around the ice. To raise funds for GLASA, the Sled Hockey Event has featured a gift basket raffle, chuck a puck contest, silent auction, and food/beverage sales.
Deerfield’s new coach, Randy Schlesinger, shared that their main philanthropy effort revolves around Cornerstone Community Outreach, one of the largest shelters in the Chicago area. Coach Schlesinger has been involved with Cornerstone for over ten years and previously took players from his New Trier teams there. When players are at Cornerstone, they assess what is needed to make the best breakfast, run to the store (often buying grits, bowls, cups, juice, butter, cream, etc.) and work with the head chef to prepare breakfast, then open the door and serve 100-200 of the city’s homeless.
Belvidere Fury spent a Saturday morning at the Maple Crest Care Center in Belvidere handing out over 100 stuffed animals they collected. The players went to each room to share a smile and a new friend with the residents.
Lake Forest High School JV and Varsity volunteered this year at The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival benefiting Make-A-Wish Charities. The kids hauled and carved pumpkins for the event.
PREP and D211 do fundraisers in October in support of breast cancer awareness.
In addition to New Trier, many teams in the northern suburbs, including BGHW and Highland Park have scrimmages with the GLASA sled hockey teams.
During this time of reflection, family, and thanks, the IHSHL North Central Division is proud of not only being the largest high school conference in the state, but thankful for all the support that our teams receive from our communities, parents, players, coaches, referees, and AHAI.