By Ross Forman – Clarissa “Issa” Letang is the lone Libertyville High School student skating for the co-op Lake Forest girls’ team, which has won back-to-back Founders Cup Championships and three in the past four years.
The Scouts mix players from six schools: Lake Forest, Stevenson, Libertyville, Highland Park, Deerfield, and Woodlands Academy. Lake Forest won the Illinois High School Hockey State Championship in 2011 and 2013.
“I like to have fun (on the ice), but also take the game seriously,” said Letang, 16, a junior who lives in Lake Forest in her third season on the Scouts’ varsity team. “It’s fun (playing for a co-op team) because you get to know people younger and older than you and you get to know people from other schools which is always nice.
“Since I am the only representative from Libertyville, I like wearing some Libertyville clothing to practice. I wish LHS was a little more involved, but otherwise I love representing my Wildcat spirit.”
Letang, wearing uniform No. 15, shoots right-handed and plays right wing. She spent her youth years skating for the Ice Dogs.
“I am an upperclassman now, so I feel like some of the rookies will be looking up to the upperclassmen, so I want to be a good role model,” said Letang, whose goal for next season is to be name the team captain.
Letang said her off-season workouts have helped so far this fall. She is still undecided on her college plans, but looking into something in the management field, possibly sports management.
“Since my hockey experience is limited, I love to have fun with it and not take it too seriously because I feel like it wouldn’t be as much fun,” she said.
SLAPSHOTS WITH … LAKE FOREST FORWARD CLARISSA “ISSA” LETANG
Favorite NHL Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite NHL Player: Patrick Kane
Favorite Sports-Themed Movie: Sandlot
Favorite Pre-Game Meal: “I usually don’t eat before games, but after a burger is always good.”
Celebrity You’d Most Like to Meet: Danny Duncan
Best Hockey Tip: “Keep trying and if you fall, get back up because that is how you learn and fix your mistakes.”
Giving Thanks, To Her Parents: “They have always pushed me to be good and to get better. They support me through everything and that is all I could ask for.”
Most Inspirational: Lake Forest co-head coach Billy Polovin
Extra Ice Time: She has a home-made ice rink in her front yard during the winter.
Teammate You Could See Someday as a Hockey Coach: Sophie Huddleston “because she never gives up and is always encouraging people to do the best they can and gives great advice.”
Hardest Slapshot on Your Team: Emily Manfred
Most Accurate Shot on Your Team: Lucy Heller
Fastest Skater on Your Team: Emily Manfred
Best High School Jerseys (other than LF): “I like Libertyville’s jerseys because of the black and orange.”
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.