Evanston Youth Hockey Association (EYHA) is a premier hockey program in northern Illinois offering all levels of youth hockey from Mites through High School levels.

Home
 
 
My my My my
 
 
 
 
 
 
HEADLINES
Dec. 1: Boys HS Senior Night
by posted 11/12/2018


Join the crowds at Boys HS Senior Night on Dec. 1

Dec. 1: Boys HS Senior Night

Mark your calendars! Evanston Hockey will honor its graduating seniors from the Varsity team on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 8:30 p.m. -- immediately before the Varsity game against BG/H/W, which is scheduled to start at 9:05 p.m.

As part of the festivities, all Evanston Hockey players are invited to help celebrate by forming a human tunnel to welcome the boys HS seniors onto the ice. Arrive by 8:15 p.m. to line up.

We will also have a limited number of Evanston Hockey winter toques for sale ($15) -- the same ones all players received at the beginning of the season -- and we will be giving away a limited number of coupons for buy one/get one free from USA Hockey sponsor Chipotle.

We hope to see you there!

NOTE: Girls HS Senior Night will take place during Hockey Days in Evanston (Jan. 25-26, 2019); more info about this fun-for-all event coming soon!

 

TopShare this

 
 
10U Grunnah Takes Second Place at Great Lakes Fall Classic
by posted 10/21/2018


10U Grunnah Takes Second Place at Great Lakes Fall Classic

10U Grunnah Takes Second Place at Great Lakes Fall Classic

A confident 10U Grunnah team traveled to Holland, Mich., the weekend of Oct. 19-21 hoping to keep its undefeated streak alive in the Great Lakes Fall Classic. The Wildkits kept their momentum going until the tournament finals, when a tough Leafs team handed them their first loss of the season.

Led by coaches Christian Grunnah and Del Morris, the team rolled to an easy victory in their first game, dropping Jimmy John’s of Michigan 10-0, following up with a second win (6-2) over the Swords of Cincinnati. The Kits, a Silver A NIHL team, knew they faced a tougher game against their third opponent, the Leafs, a NIHL Gold Team. But they took the Leafs 4-1 in a contest that was much closer than the score, aided by the strong play of goalie Luke Johnson, who saw more than 30 shots.

The victory set up a rematch against the Leafs in the tournament championship. The Leafs were ready this time, jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead within the first two minutes. They grabbed two more goals by the final buzzer, winning 4-0 and sending Team Grunnah home with a 2nd place banner.

After finishing the NIHL seeding round with a 6-0-2 record, Team Grunnah has been placed in the Silver A Tier A bracket for the regular season.

TopShare this

 
 
Coach and Player of the Month Winners
by posted 10/15/2018


Evanston Hockey Coach Deon Kidd and 14U Player Nico Valentino named Positive Coaching Alliance coach and player of the month

Congrats to Coach and Player of the Month Winners for October

As part of its partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance, Evanston Hockey is recognizing players and coaches who honor the game. Congratulations to our October winners: Coach Deon Kidd and Player Nico Valentino.

Coach of the Month – Deon Kidd

A coach gets the team to achieve its best, teaching athletes to put forward maximum effort while learning and improving without letting a fear of mistakes get in the way of their success. The Positive Coaching Alliance calls this a double goal coach, one whose first goal is winning, with a second, more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports. 

Coach Deon, who leads a 12U and 14U travel team, was nominated because he "has a tremendous attitude with the kids, balancing a 'never give up attitude' with zeal and enthusiasm for the game and the players.”

Further, the nomination stated that Coach Deon “is supportive of the players; he encourages them to do their best, and he holds them accountable. He keeps the kids laughing on the ice, emphasizing the fun of the game. The kids continue to get better, and they have fun while they're improving. He pushes the kids but doesn't push them too hard. He is empathetic and understanding. He is a delight to have as a coach on the ice.”

Player of the Month – Nico Valentino
 
Players can honor the game, too! A player of the month consistently works to make himself or herself better, his and her teammates better and the sport better. 

14U player Nico Valentino was recognized for going above and beyond every practice and every game. 

The nomination stated, "We love watching Nico play hockey, and his positive attitude and bright smile light up everyone's day. He always gives 100%, every shift, from start to finish. We know that, in addition to hockey, he runs cross-country and participates in triathlons, often setting PRs in the morning and playing a great game of hockey later that same day. He's an all-around athlete, an encouraging teammate, and a great friend to many. He is one of those players that makes the game fun to watch, and we are honored to share the ice with him.”

"Nico is talented and skillful. His dad teaches him new things. In games he is aggressive and tries to get to the puck and always tries to get goals. Nico always shows up to play. He is super fast and when he's going for the puck, he's going to get it. He never gets tired and he gives it his all. He always has a fist-bump for you, even when you have a bad shift. Nico is one of the nicest kids I know. He is a great hockey player but, more importantly, he's always positive."

Way to go Coach Deon and Nico! Monthly winners will be entered into a raffle at the end of the season for great prizes.

Now it's time to recognize a head or assistant coach and player for the month of November.

Send an email to with your coach's information and details about how he / she is helping build great teammates, athletes and kids. 

Send an email to with your player nomination, including details about how he / she is helping build great teammates, athletes and kids. 

A winner for both the player and coach of the month will be selected at random from the nominations submitted every month, with the Board of Directors and hockey director reviewing the finalists before they are announced. Nominations are due the first Tuesday of every month. The November nominations are due Nov. 6.

TopShare this

 
 
New Mentors Announced
by posted 10/14/2018


Some members of the mentorship class of 2018-19

Evanston Hockey Mentors Announced

More than 20 players at the 14U (Bantam) and high school levels have been accepted into the 2018-19 class of the Evanston Hockey mentorship program, which is designed to provide leadership development opportunities for intermediate players. This year's class is nearly 40 percent bigger than last year's class.

"It's a great opportunity for intermediate players to contribute to the Evanston Hockey community while gaining leadership skills, friendships and community service hours," said Board Member and Coach Tim Riley, who manages the program.

The mentors will be assigned to a youth team, and will spend the entire season mentoring the youth players through participation in certain practices, games and off-ice activities.

This year's mentors are:

  • Aidan Barker
  • Aidan Kennedy
  • Alexandru Croitor
  • Campbell Wagener
  • Chris Giella
  • Drew McDermott
  • Gavin Hansen
  • Henry Brady
  • Jack Clair
  • James Greco
  • Jennifer Maguire
  • Luiza Santos
  • Luke Flangel
  • Miles Granjean
  • Nick Ghate
  • Olivia DiPadova
  • Parker Dietz
  • Peter Gallun
  • Rory Nutkevitch
  • Ryder Bellios
  • Will Dunlap

 

If you have any questions about the mentor program, please feel free to contact Tim Riley (program director) at .
TopShare this

 
 
12U Crews Wins Great Lakes Columbus Day Clash
by posted 10/07/2018


Wildkits Take Title with 3-2 OT Victory

Wildkits Take Title with 3-2 OT Victory

Colin Scheid hammered a low, blistering shot into the net less than one minute into overtime to give the Evanston Wildkits the Peewee AA championship of the Great Lakes Columbus Day Clash tournament in Holland, Michigan. 

Charlie Dillman set up the game winner with a crucial offensive zone face-off win, drawing the puck back to Scheid on the blue line where he buried the shot -- sending Wildkits' sticks, gloves and helmets scattering to the ice in celebration. 

The Holland tournament win was the second in as many years for the 2007s on the team. The win comes with the Wildkits short-handed throughout the tournament -- missing all-around forward and team assist leader Alex Kupfer.

Will Wagener opened the scoring off an assist from Freddy Durston but the Leafs soon levelled the score and the first period ended in a 1-1 tie. 

Ilija Marich put the Wildkits ahead 2-1 midway through the second -- weaving through Leafs defenders and sneaking a shot under the crossbar from just above the left faceoff dot. But the team from West Dundee again proved equal to the task before the end of the period and the teams entered the third tied 2-2. 

Both teams traded chances throughout the third but Robo Gallun came up with several game-saving stops in the final minutes to send the game into overtime. 

Evanston ends the tournament with a 4-1 record, having outscored its opponents 26-6. 

 

TopShare this

 
 
House Games Underway, Staying Healthy & Award Winners
by posted 09/29/2018


Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris

Growing the Game: House Games Underway, Staying Healthy & Award Winners

I was reading a recent issue of USA Hockey magazine, and I really enjoyed the story about how house hockey programs can help contribute to the growth of hockey [http://touchpointmedia.uberflip.com/i/1018556-september-2018/21?m4=]. House hockey programs emphasize skill development and fun for kids who are interested in playing on a team and may have other commitments preventing them from playing during the week.

At Evanston Hockey, our house program has officially started with practices and games for our 8U through 14U players. Every effort was made to create competitively balanced teams, as mandated by the local league, the North Shore Youth Hockey League. I want to recognize our volunteer coaches, our house hockey director, Pat Brownlee, and board liaison, Garry DeStefano, for working hard to make sure that kids are developing their skills and having a great time doing so.

With the house season underway, all of our teams have now officially hit the ice. It also means that all of our players -- from our 8U mites to our Varsity seniors -- now have the added responsibility of managing their time so they stay healthy throughout the long hockey season. I encourage players to maintain healthy habits and stay well rested so they can continue to perform at their best in school, at home and on the ice. This will help the entire team stay healthy as well.

Finally, I'd like to congratulate Coach Deon Kidd and 14U player Nico Valentino for being named the Positive Coaching Alliance coach and player of the month for October. You can read more about this new monthly honor here, and I encourage all of our parents, coaches and players to keep an eye out for coaches and players who continue to honor the game. You can find out how to nominate them by reading the story about Coach Deon and Nico.

Let's go kits!

TopShare this

 
 
President's Message: Season in Full Swing
by posted 09/28/2018


Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap

Season in Full Swing

We’re off and running as the 2018-19 season is in full swing. All of our teams, including high school, travel and house, have hit the ice. It’s great to see so many Evanston Hockey players and families at the rink supporting all of our teams.

We’re excited for the return of our mentorship program, which partners up 14U and high school-aged players with younger teams. Under the guidance of Board Member Tim Riley and Hockey Director Del Morris, many of our youngest teams will now have an Evanston Hockey player mentor. The mentors will be with the team during select practices and games. Not only does this give our younger players a glimpse into their hockey future and someone to look up to, but the mentors also get a chance to recall what is was like to be a youngster just starting out and see what it’s like to be on the other side of the player/coach relationship.

I would also like to congratulate Coach Deon Kidd and 14U player Nico Valentino on their selections as our first Positive Coaching Alliance Coach and Player of the month. Coach Deon and Nico were selected from nominations submitted by the Evanston Hockey community at large. We will be soliciting nominations each month, so if you know a coach or player that honors the game, please submit a nomination by following the instructions in this article.

Finally, I would like to encourage all our players who are age 12 and older to sign up for the A Step aHead program. This free program gives players baseline cognitive testing that can be used to any physician/provider as a baseline comparison if there is concern for a concussion in the future. The test is only valid for players aged 12 years and older and is good for two years. The cutoff date to get tested is Nov. 30, so if you are eligible and have not yet signed up, please do so!

As always, please feel to reach out to me or any of our Board Members if you have any questions or concerns.

Go Kits!!

TopShare this

 
 
Nominate Coach/Player of the Month
by posted 09/18/2018


Nominate a coach, assistant coach or player who honors the game

Honor the Game: Nominate Coach/Player of the Month

Evanston Hockey has partnered with the Positive Coaching Alliance, and we want to recognize players and coaches who honor the game. Nominations for coach and player of the month are due the first Tuesday of every month.

Tell us how your coach or assistant coach gets the team to achieve its best, teaching athletes to put forward maximum effort while learning and improving without letting a fear of mistakes get in the way of their success. The Positive Coaching Alliance calls this a double goal coach, one whose first goal is winning, with a second, more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports. 

Send an email to with your coach's information and details about how he / she is helping build great teammates, athletes and kids. 

And players can honor the game, too! Coaches, parents and teammates can nominate individual players for "player of the month." These individuals consistently work to make themselves better, their teammates better and the sport better. Tell us about a teammate who goes above and beyond every practice and every game. 

Send an email to with your player nomination, including details about how he / she is helping build great teammates, athletes and kids. 

A winner for both the player and coach of the month will be selected at random from the nominations submitted every month, with the Board of Directors and hockey director reviewing the finalists before they are announced. Nominations are due the first Tuesday of every month.

TopShare this

 
 
Director's Message: Double-Goal Coaches
by posted 09/17/2018


Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris

Director’s Message: Double-Goal Coaches

Our coaches bring decades of coaching experience to the ice each day, using that experience to help kids develop into great hockey players. What I’m most proud of, though, is their efforts at developing our players into better people and players on and off the ice.

This season, the coaches are focusing on a few key pieces to being a Positive Coaching Alliance Double-Goal Coach. A double-goal coach strives to win, while also pursuing the more important goal of teaching life lessons through sports.

To better understand what that means, I’m sharing a few key pieces of information that our coaches are using this season:

1 - Parent Tips
2 - Filling Tanks Script
3 - ELM Mastery Script

I encourage you to read through these documents and to try some of these at home with your kids. I especially like the concept of filling the emotional tank and feel it can be applied in many situations outside of sports.

This is our second year partnering with the Positive Coaching Alliance, but the concept of positive reinforcement is not new to Evanston Hockey. The PCA’s mission closely aligns with Evanston Hockey’s mission along with my four pillars of respect, sportsmanship, honesty and responsibility.

We are proud of the work we’ve accomplished thus far and look forward to continuing the momentum of creating a climate where our youth athletes develop a lasting passion for sports.

I hope you’ll notice our coaches and players using some of these key concepts and introducing new vocabulary at home — ELM trees, filling emotional tanks. I also encourage you to nominate a coach or player who you believe deserves recognition for their commitment to honoring the game.

Thank you to all of our families for their commitment to this initiative, their kids and Evanston Hockey. Go Kits!

TopShare this

 
 
President's Message: Hockey is in the Air
by posted 09/15/2018


Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap

President's Message: Hockey is in the Air!

All of our teams have hit the ice.

The boys high school teams recently competed in a pre-season tournament with the regular season right around the corner, while our girls high school team will begin seeding games soon. Our youth travel teams are gearing up for the seeding round as well, and our house teams are being formed as their season gets under way shortly.

And as you can see when you come to the rink, the construction fence is up as the new Robert Crown Community Center is being built. Very exciting times to be part of Evanston Hockey!

A big thank you to all of our volunteers who make our program go. And another big thank you to all of our families for your support of our children and Evanston Hockey. Please feel free to reach out to me or any of our Board Members you have any questions or concerns as the season gets under way. We'll see you at the rink.

Go Kits!

TopShare this

 
 
Boys High School Team Rosters Announced
by posted 08/25/2018


Boys HS Team Rosters Announced

Boys High School Team Rosters Announced

Congratulations to our boys Varsity and Junior Varsity teams for the 2018-19 season. Be sure to check out the master schedule to see when the Wildkits play at Robert Crown so you can cheer on your teams. Let's go Wildkits!

Varsity

Allen, Will 
Baliga, Max 
Bratt, Jens 
Cousineau, Andrew 
DeStefano, Evan 
DeStefano, Owen 
Doppelt, Jonah 
Gallun, Peter 
Giella, Christopher 
Greco, James 
Hansen, Gavin 
Kennedy, Aidan 
Levy, Henry 
Levy, Joseph 
Martinez, Sergio 
Nutkevitch, Rory 
Papa, Karlovac 
Rodriguez, Charles 
Rodriguez, Gabriel 
Wagener, Campbell 
Wolniak, Alexander 

Junior Varsity

Barker, Aidan 
Bernstein, Gideon 
Bodine, William 
Brady, Henry 
Bryan, Tyler 
Colon, Sebastian 
Course, Gavin 
DiPadova, Joseph 
Dietz, Parker 
Gerstein, Jonah 
Hovland, Dashiell 
McDermott, Andrew 
McLean, Ewan 
Moffitt, Patrick 
Noyes, Samuel 
OBrien, William 
Peiser, Evan 
Reynolds, Logan 
Richard, Oliver 
Riefke, Liam 
Stukenberg, Wesley 
Vanderwarker, Will 
Wui, Brandon 

TopShare this

 
 
President's Message: Time to Lace Up the Skates
by posted 07/31/2018


Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap

President's Message: Time to Lace Up the Skates

It's that time of the year again. Time to sharpen the skates and make sure all of that equipment still fits! We are looking forward to seeing all of our families back at the rink as the 2018-19 season starts up. Summer is great, but hearing the sound of the rink alive again with all of the sticks and pucks on the ice and the laughter in the locker room is pretty special as well. And you will notice some changes around Robert Crown as the construction fence goes up and the work begins to make the new Robert Crown Center ready for next fall.

We are excited for the upcoming season. Hockey Director Del Morris and House Hockey Director Pat Brownlee have been working hard this summer to make sure this season will be great. High school tryouts started this week, with youth travel and house hockey starting soon after (see pre-season dates here). While tryouts can be anxiety provoking (for both kids and adults), here are a couple of articles that give tips on having a successful tryout:

https://ahaienews.com/2018/08/03/successful-tryout-tips-from-a-longtime-local-high-school-coach/

https://www.admkids.com/news_article/show/539381

At the end of the day, as both articles state, do your best and have fun.

Please feel free to reach out to me, any of our Board Members, Del or Pat if you have any questions as the season gets started. There will be a chance to interact with all of us at our Parent Meeting on Thursday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Robert Crown gymnasium.

Go Kits!

TopShare this

 
 
Evanston Hockey Commits to First Tournaments for Fall Season
by posted 07/17/2018


Evanston Hockey Commits to First Tournaments for Fall Season

Evanston Hockey Commits to First Tournaments for Fall Season

Building on the success of increasing coordination for travel tournaments, Evanston Hockey has already committed to sending travel and high school teams to tournaments in the fall.

"Early season tournaments are a great way to build team chemistry and camaraderie," said Hockey Director Del Morris. "In general, tournaments are also an opportunity for families to spend time together off the ice to help forge a strong hockey community."

Please note that travel tournaments typically start on Fridays and likely result in players needing to miss one day of school. Also note that tournaments are a required part of travel hockey. All players are expected to attend tournaments with their teams.

10U, 12U and 14U

UPDATED Travel teams will play in one of four tournaments in Holland, Michigan, depending on team assignment:

  • Great Lakes Pre-Season Challenge on Sept. 28-30
  • Great Lakes Columbus Day Clash on Oct. 5-7
  • Great Lakes Fall Classic on Oct. 19-21
  • Great Lakes Fall Showdown on Nov. 2-4

Girls 14U

The girls team will participate in a to-be-determined tournament. More info coming soon.

Boys High School

Boys high school will play in the Gator Cup hosted by Crystal Lake South High School the weekend of Sept. 7-9. Boys high school will also play in the 47th Annual Loyola Thanksgiving Invitational the weekend of Nov. 21-25.

For additional planning purposes, traditionally, teams also play in tournaments during Thanksgiving break and Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend break. Travel and high school players are expected to play in all tournaments. Once travel teams are set, team managers will confirm additional tournaments for their respective teams.

If you have any questions about tournaments, please email .

TopShare this

 
 
Info on Custom Evanston Hockey Gear
by posted 07/16/2018


Info on Custom Evanston Hockey Gear

Info on Custom Evanston Hockey Gear

In preparation for the 2018-19 season, Evanston Hockey announces that its official, custom gear will be available in late summer/early fall thanks to our official partners, Play It Again Sports and Gunzo’s in Morton Grove.

Track suits
Track suits are mandatory for all travel and high school players and optional for house players although everyone is encouraged to purchase one. Players with previous Evanston Hockey track suits that still fit do not need to purchase a new one.

If players need a bigger size or if they do not have a track suit, they can be fitted at the Evanston Hockey kickoff picnic on Aug. 25 (11 am.-1 p.m. at Robert Crown) and also at Play It Again Sports in Evanston. Track suits must be ordered through Play It Again Sports by Sept. 14. This will be your only opportunity to order new track suits this season.

If you are a new coach to Evanston Hockey (house or travel) and need to order an official Evanston Hockey track suit, please contact Marina Marich (marinadobro@yahoo.com) by Sept. 12 so that we can get you sized and your order placed.

Youth Sizing
Combo $97

Adult Sizing
Combo: $110

Pant Shells
Pant shells are mandatory for Girls High School, JV and Varsity and will be ordered separately for those players. The shells are optional for all other teams. A limited number of pant shells in youth and adult sizes will be available for purchase at the Evanston Hockey kickoff picnic on Aug. 25 (11 am.-1 p.m. at Robert Crown).

Helmet Stickers
Helmet stickers are mandatory for JV and Varsity and will be ordered separately for those players. The helmet stickers are optional for all other teams, and will be available for purchase at the Evanston Hockey kickoff picnic on Aug. 25 (11 am.-1 p.m. at Robert Crown).

Gloves and Hockey Bags
Custom gloves and custom hockey bags are optional for all players. This season, Evanston Hockey has partnered with Gunzo’s in Morton Grove and Play It Again Sports in Evanston to offer custom Bauer and CCM gloves and hockey bags, respectively. The items will be available in late summer and can be purchased directly from Gunzo’s or Play It Again Sports.

Helmets and Hockey Pants
If your player needs a new helmet or hockey pants, we strongly encourage you to purchase those items in navy to match the team's colors.

If you have questions about custom gear or Evanston Hockey’s uniform, please email .

TopShare this

 
 
Referees Needed: IHOA Referee Seminar Information
by posted 07/16/2018


Referees Needed: IHOA Referee Seminar Information

Referees Needed: IHOA Referee Seminar Information

IHOA is proud to announce the seminar schedule for the 2018 / 2019 season.

Online registration for both IHOA and USA Hockey will commence on Aug. 1. ALL officials must be registered with IHOA to attend a seminar and it is highly recommended that officials register with USA Hockey and complete the open book test and online modules before attending their seminar.

TopShare this

 
 
Evanston Hockey Renews House Director Position
by posted 07/15/2018


Evanston Hockey House Director Pat Brownlee

Evanston Hockey Renews House Director Position

The Evanston Hockey Board of Directors and Hockey Director Del Morris unanimously renewed the House Director position for the 2018-19 season. Pat Brownlee will take on the paid role and will report to Morris.

“We are excited to have Pat aboard again as house director,” said Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap. “With his tremendous hockey experience as a player, coach and parent, he will continue to be an asset for EYHA as well as a leader for our house program.”

As House Director, Brownlee will serve as the initial point of contact for parents with kids in the house program and he will also work closely with Morris to ensure the right skills are being taught and learned. In addition, Brownlee will work with Gary DeStefano, the Board of Directors member who serves as the house program liaison, to ensure open, honest and transparent communication between the board and our house families.

“I am excited to once again work with Del, the EYHA Board, and the many families and players who make coaching an honor, for a new hockey season,” Brownlee said. “I look forward to building on the growth of last season and giving our players the tools to learn and thrive as teammates and developing hockey players.”
 
His daughters, Katelyn, 11, and Lela, 8, will be first year 12U and second year 8U players, respectively, in the fall.
 
Brownlee has a strong hockey background. He grew up playing hockey in Minneapolis and played high school hockey there. While in high school, Brownlee had the opportunity to play for Team USA as a Select 16 and Select 17 member.
 
After high school, he played a year of junior A hockey for the Des Moines Buccaneers in the USHL. His time in Iowa helped bring him to Rensselaer (RPI) where he played four years of college hockey and was team captain his final two seasons.
 
Brownlee finished his professional career playing minor league hockey for five years in Richmond, Virginia, Lubbock, Texas, and Austin, Texas, and continues to play in an adult league in Chicago.
 
His coaching career includes Evanston Hockey and Northwestern University.
 
He started coaching with Evanston Hockey in 2008 when he was an assistant coach for the Varsity team for two years, and has coached his children’s teams along with Mighty Mites and other classes through Robert Crown. Brownlee was an assistant coach with the Northwestern University club team.

TopShare this

 
 
City Council Approves Crown Project; Groundbreaking Ceremony Set
by posted 07/10/2018


Rendering of new Robert Crown ice rink, one of two full-size rinks to be located in community center

City Council Approves Crown Project; Groundbreaking Ceremony Set

The Evanston City Council on July 9 voted 8-0 to pass Ordinance 71-O-18 to finance the building of a new Robert Crown Community Center, Ice Complex and Library Center and, later by consent, to award contracts to Bulley and Andrews, construction manager, and Woodhouse Tinucci Architects to complete the project, which also passed 8-0.

There is no more City Council action left. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Robert Crown Community Center, Ice Complex & Library will take place on Friday, July 13 at 4 p.m. at 1701 Main St., Evanston. The event is free and open to the public. Construction fences will go up later this month. It’s happening!

TopShare this

 
 
New Yard Signs Now Available
by posted 07/04/2018


New Yard Signs Now Available

New Yard Signs Now Available

Would you like to show your Wildkits pride by putting an Evanston Hockey sign in your yard? We have designed new yard signs that are now available, and we need your help to promote our growing program.

If you are interested in placing a sign in your yard – and you think that your house is in the perfect location to get extra visibility – please complete this short survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3FMP6JK

If you have questions, please email .

TopShare this

 
 
Director's Message: Be at Your Best in August
by posted 07/03/2018


Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris

Director's Message: Be at Your Best in August

The primary objective for summer should be to rest and recharge your batteries. The fall/winter schedule can be tough so make sure you get a bit of down time. 

But be careful not to overdo it. Here is my first piece of advice — stay active and work on strength. The summer months provide great weather and plenty of opportunities to get outside and get moving.
  
Here are a couple of ideas to come into the season physically fit so the coaches can spend more time on skills and less time on conditioning:

  • Play other sports: Lacrosse, soccer, tennis, basketball, baseball and other sports are a great way to have fun with friends while working on overall athleticism.
  • Skate: Nothing beats a simple skate to get the heart rate up and keep those muscles moving. Take advantage of our summer skates (check calendar on evanstonhockey.com for the schedule) or public skates at Robert Crown Center.

Of course, it is also a good idea to work on those hockey skills a bit to make sure that you are ready for the end-of-summer skates, conditioning, tryouts and the beginning of the hockey season.

  • Stickhandle at home: Roller hockey balls, street hockey pucks, golf balls, tennis balls, biscuits — whatever you have. Spending as little as 5-10 minutes a day working on your stickhandling will show huge results.
  • Work on your shot: You don’t need ice time to work on your shot. Set up a shooting pad and net in your backyard and take 50 shots a day. You will soon see a difference in shot power and accuracy.

This is also an ideal time of year for our players to take time to reflect on what it means to be a good teammate and things they can do to improve in this area. Help motivate your teammates by inviting them to skate, shoot, stick handle or even just to get together and play other sports or go to the gym. The best way to motivate teammates is positive peer pressure.

Sportsmanship is one of the four pillars of our program, and it goes hand in hand with the other pillars of honesty, respect and responsibility. As we prepare for the 2018-19 season, I encourage you to hold your children accountable to these pillars so that we can continue creating even more memories on and off the ice.

TopShare this

 
 
President's Update: Summer Fun, Fall Planning
by posted 07/02/2018


Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap

President’s Update: Summer Fun, Fall Planning

It's 85 degrees out and probably a bit difficult to think about hockey! Hopefully you and your player are enjoying some time away from the rink. We agree with USA Hockey on the importance of playing multiple sports. If your player wants to get out of the heat and jump on the ice for an occasional skate, however, we have summer drop in skates available.

I hope you were able to join us for the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Robert Crown Center -- it's going to be an incredible asset not only to our players but to the entire city of Evanston. We're looking forward to playing there soon!

In the meantime, we are getting ready for the upcoming season, which is just around the corner. We are thrilled to once again partner with the Positive Coaching Alliance who will be providing workshops next season for our coaches and older players. We're also exploring additional ways to increase awareness and share resources from this valuable organization.

Have a wonderful summer, enjoy some time with family at the beach and we look forward to seeing you back at the rink in the fall!

TopShare this

 
 
Free Neurocognitive Testing & Concussion Education Now Available
by posted 07/01/2018


Free Neurocognitive Testing and Concussion Education Now Available

Free Neurocognitive Testing and Concussion Education Now Available

AHAI, the Chicago Blackhawks, Athletico and NorthShore University HealthSystem are once again offering the “A Step aHead” program, which provides free baseline neurocognitive testing and education on concussions to the youth hockey community.

All AHAI players aged 11-18 years old (house and travel) are eligible for free baseline testing. The results are valid for two years. You can register online today by clicking HERE.

In addition to the development of our hockey players and enjoyment of the sport of hockey, the safety and protection of our participants is central to Evanston Hockey’s goals. We encourage all eligible players to take advantage of this free, important program.

Additional information, including how to register for “A Step aHead” testing, can be found here.

TopShare this

 
 
Summer Hockey Registration Open: Sign Up Today
by posted 05/23/2018


Sign up today for unlimited summer hockey sessions and full-day city camps

Summer Hockey Registration Open: Sign Up Today

To keep kids cool on the ice during the hot summer months, Evanston Hockey, Evanston Jr. Wildkits and the City of Evanston are offering several summer hockey options for players aged 4 and older on the main ice at Robert Crown Center. Registration for all three programs is now open! See below for specific information.

Our experienced coaches — led by Hockey Director and Varsity coach Del Morris — will be on the ice with players to have some fun and help kids reach a higher level of play. Del will be supported by a deep bench of coaches with decades of experience at every level of hockey: youth, high school, college and international hockey.

All of the options give families and players a flexible, convenient and affordable way to keep those skills sharp.

If you have any questions about summer programming, please contact:

  • (Evanston Hockey)
  • (Junior Wildkits)
  • (City of Evanston)

EVANSTON HOCKEY SUMMER PROGRAM

What: 75-minute sessions will be divided into skill development (skating, puck handling, shooting and passing) and games (small area games and full-ice games). Sessions will be led by Evanston Hockey high school and travel coaches.

Who: All house and travel 10U, 12U, 14U, 14U girls, HS players [8U players: see below under Jr. Wildkits]

When: June 12-Aug. 2 on main ice (no ice on July 3-4)

  • 10U (Squirt): 610-725p Thursdays
  • 12U (Peewee) and (no checking) 14U Girls and Girls HS: 735-850p Thursdays
  • 14U (Bantam) and (with checking) 14U Girls and Girls HS: 755-910p Tuesdays
  • Boys HS: 815-930p Wednesdays

Note: Stay tuned for information about three all girls skates that will be held over the summer. Information to be communicated separately.

Cost: Two payment options are available.

Season Pass [unlimited sessions]
$120 [10U, 12U and 14U Girls/Girls HS non-checking - 8 sessions total]
$105 [14U, Boys HS and 14U Girls/Girls HS checking - 7 sessions total]
* Goalies half-price

Drop-In Pass [single session]
$30 each
* Goalies half-price

Registration for the unlimited sessions opens today and ends on June 11. Drop-in players must pay online the day before each session and bring an emailed receipt as proof of purchase. NO cash will be accepted at the door. Drop-in registrations will be available closer to the June 12 start date.

Note: If session sizes run fewer than 15 skaters, sessions will combine to keep group sizes appropriate. This could change the day of a skate, and we will send an email as soon as possible if a change needs to occur.

REGISTER HERE FOR SEASON PASS: http://assn.la/Reg/?r=1:242228

EVANSTON JR. WILDKITS SUMMER PROGRAM

What: 60-minute sessions will be divided into skill development and games (small area games and full-ice scrimmages). Sessions will be led by current and upcoming fall season Junior Wildkit coaches.

Who: All 8U house and travel players

When: June 12-Aug. 7 on Tuesdays from 6:45-7:45 p.m. on main ice (no ice on July 3 — join us at the Fourth of July parade instead!)

Cost: $150

REGISTER HERE: https://leagueathletics.com/Registration/Restrictions.asp?RegID=164990&n=&org=JUNIORWILDKITS.COM

Note: Jr. Wildkits also offers a “Little Kits” program for pre-8U players (ages 4-7) who have minimal skating experience but interest in learning hockey skills and an introduction to small area games. Click here to learn more.

CITY OF EVANSTON HAT TRICK HOCKEY CAMP: FULL-DAY & DAILY OPTIONS

Evanston Hockey coaches Del Morris and Jimmy Kahn will be leading the City of Evanston’s on-ice portion of the city’s hockey camp, Hat Trick Hockey. The city is now offering full-day and daily half-day options.

During the camp's afternoon on-ice portion, participants will have (3) 50 minute sessions on the ice with water breaks in between. Players will be divided by age and skill levels. Full hockey equipment is required for participation.

When: 9am-4pm
June: 11-15, 18-22, 25-29
July: 2-6 (No camp on July 4; price prorated), 9-13, 16-20, 23-27, 30-Aug 3
August: 6-10

Cost:
$220 Resident
$240 Non-Resident
Note: Pre and Post care is available with this options as well; $15 daily morning 7:30-9am & $15 daily afternoon 4-6pm. Full Week is $30 for morning & $40 for afternoon

The city is also offering a daily option, however, this is only available for the afternoon (1-4 p.m.) on-ice portion and participants much register by the Friday before the week of the days they will be attending. Cost is $35 Resident & $45 Non-Resident per day. Post Care is available with this option; $15 Daily 4-6pm.

IMPORTANT: The full day and daily options are not listed on the city’s website. To register and complete all necessary forms, please contact James Faedtke at the Robert Crown Center via email (jfaedtke@cityofevanston.org), phone (847-859-7824) or in person at Robert Crown when James is working.

TopShare this

 
 
Survey Results Identify Strengths, Areas for Improvement
by posted 05/22/2018


Four most important elements receive highest satisfaction scores

Survey Results Identify Strengths, Areas for Improvement

Of the four elements in a hockey program that are most important to Evanston Hockey families, survey respondents in the annual survey reported they are most satisfied with those same four elements: teamwork and good sportsmanship; effective coaching; skills development; and enjoyment of the game.

Specific Stats

In the 2017-18 Evanston Hockey family survey, more than 95 percent of parents identified teamwork and good sportsmanship as “very important” or the “most important” element of a successful youth hockey program with 86 percent stating they were either “completely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the program’s focus on teamwork and sportsmanship. This satisfaction score has consistently increased during the previous three surveys (84, 85 and 80 percent, respectively).

Effective coaching came in second with 93 percent of parents citing these as “very important” or “most important.” Approximately 78 percent of respondents said they were “completely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with coaching, an increase from last year’s survey of 75 percent.

Skills development along with enjoyment of the game rounded out the top four most important elements in a hockey program with 90 percent and 85 percent of respondents, respectively, citing these as “very important” or “most important.”

Seventy percent of respondents said they were “completely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with skills development – an increase from last year’s survey of 67 percent – while 87 percent reported the same for enjoyment of the game – an increase from last year’s survey of 82 percent.

Overall Experience

Nearly 115 families representing all levels of hockey offered in Evanston completed the survey, which was distributed at the conclusion of the fall/winter season.

Overall, respondents reported having a positive experience with the Evanston Hockey program. More than 88 percent stated their overall experience was “good” or “excellent,” which is consistent with survey results the previous three surveys, and 93 percent of respondents stated they would recommend Evanston Hockey to other families, an increase from last season’s response of 89 percent.

The survey results identified some of the program’s strengths, and it also picked up on areas for improvement — providing the Evanston Hockey board of directors and hockey director with a valuable blueprint to strengthen the entire program.

“While we are proud of the program that is in place, we know that there is always room for improvement,” said Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap. “The board and hockey director review responses carefully, and we do our best to make improvements to the program so that we are constantly evolving to provide the best experience possible for our players and families both on and off the ice.”

Previous Improvements

Examples of changes made in the past three seasons based on previous survey feedback include:

  • Adding specialty coaching, including goaltending coaches and shooting/skating coaches, to complement our impressive roster of professional coaches
  • Introducing weekly buzzer hockey for additional skill development and ice slot management
  • Hiring a dedicated House Hockey Director and facilitating nameplates on the house hockey jerseys
  • Reaching an agreement with Precision Multisport to provide age-appropriate off-ice conditioning to enhance skill development
  • Signing a partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance
  • Establishing a monthly newsletter, expanding social media and revamping information on the website to increase communications
  • Holding a parent meeting to give families a chance to meet coaches and the board and ask questions at the start of the season

Continuous Improvement

Areas for additional attention include continuing to focus on upholding a positive culture; adding more games at home for the girls high school team and all-girls skates for our growing girls program; better communicating scheduling, program expectations and who is on the board; and return on investment.

The Evanston Hockey board and hockey director have already acted on the survey results with a focus on continuous improvement.

Positive Culture: We take very seriously our role in providing a safe and positive environment for all participants, and therefore have taken some additional steps to foster this commitment around the Positive Coaching Alliance, improved locker room supervision and pre-season player communications.

PCA: We received great feedback on our first-ever partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), a national, non-profit organization that develops better athletes and better people through resources for youth and high school coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes. Survey respondents indicated they “agree/strongly agree” that Evanston Hockey’s partnership with PCA is valuable.

To that end, the board has voted unanimously to renew its partnership with PCA for the 2018-19 season. The board will participate in a PCA-led workshop this summer and the PCA will deliver additional workshops for our coaches and parents to help those involved in youth and high school sports create a positive, character-building youth sports culture. Stay tuned for more information on when those workshops will take place. PCA also offers free resources at www.PCADevZone.org and parent volunteer Jean O’Mahoney has put together additional resources and information on the Evanston Hockey website.

Improved Locker Room Supervision: In addition to the PCA partnership, the board and Hockey Director Del Morris continuously work to ensure a safe experience for players on and off the ice. According to USA Hockey, the majority of rules and ethics violations stem from incidents in the locker room. This is no different for Evanston Hockey.

As such, the board is exploring options to improve locker room supervision and provide additional locker room support for coaches. We will communicate findings before the start of the fall season. In addition, Del will hold off-ice, in-person meetings with each age group at the beginning of the season to review player expectations in the locker room (as well as on the ice). These expectations will be reinforced with coaches and managers as well.

Policies: Finally, a small working group of the board of directors will be reviewing all club policies to ensure they are up to date and reflect our club’s mission. Families review and agree to these policies as part of season registration. Stay tuned for more info on that.

Taking these steps reaffirms our commitment to providing all kids the opportunity to play hockey in a diverse program that is rooted in skills development, sportsmanship, outstanding coaching, leadership skills, strong character development and camaraderie.

Ice Time: Hockey Director Del Morris, who is also the ice scheduler, along with Board President Brad Dunlap have been working with the city staff at Robert Crown to lock in ice for the fall.

Girls High School: As part of this effort, the board has committed to finding ice time for the girls high school team to play more games at Robert Crown and ice time for all-girls skates for our growing girls program.

Buzzer Hockey: In addition, as Del looks to best allocate available ice coupled with finding additional ways to continue player skills development, the board will do more promotion of Buzzer Hockey. Buzzer Hockey is a fun, three-on-three, unstructured play opportunity on the small ice. We had good feedback from those who attended Buzzer Hockey during the 2017-18 season but many were unable to attend due to conflicts or because they weren’t aware of them. We will work with team managers to communicate Buzzer Hockey and ensure that coaches also communicate this opportunity with their teams.

New Crown: With our program continuing to grow, ice time at our home rink, Robert Crown, becomes even more limited. That’s why we’re excited about the new Robert Crown Center, which is scheduled for a groundbreaking in late summer. To learn more – and donate! – click here.

Communications: Respondents expressed a desire for more communication regarding everything from scheduling updates to the direction of the program to who is on the board of directors.

Schedule Changes: As a first step, Hockey Director Del Morris and Board President Brad Dunlap continue to regularly meet with city staff at Robert Crown to identify regular ice slots for the fall. They will continue to meet with the staff on an ongoing basis to ensure that if any changes need to occur, we can more quickly and efficiently communicate those changes to our families through team managers and/or coaches.

New Families: For many of our new families – and those new to Evanston Hockey – it can be difficult understanding their player’s progression from learning to skate to being a high school player. This summer we will be adding a dedicated page on the website that outlines important information such as what first-time players need to know, what are locker room expectations, what does the two-choice rule mean, what does it mean to be a member of USA Hockey, how does my player progress at each age group, etc. We hope this information will help alleviate some of the concerns and address some of the questions for families.

The Board: Many respondents indicated that they aren’t familiar with who serves on the board of directors. We have added updated photos on the website and will be hanging a poster near our bulletin board at Robert Crown Center to make it easier to identify members. Don’t hesitate to say hello the next time you see us at the rink – like you, we’re there a lot!

In addition, during the 2017-18 season, we added a regular column in the monthly newsletter from Board President Brad Dunlap where he addresses the direction of the program and matters that impact the entire organization. We will continue to include these columns as part of our ongoing efforts to maintain open, honest and transparent communications.

Finally, we encourage families to email the board with questions, concerns or compliments at where they will be shared with the board or directly to board members via email.

Return on Investment: We know – hockey is expensive. Survey respondents are expressing less satisfaction with their return on investment than in past surveys. For background, nearly 85 percent of Evanston Hockey’s budget goes to operations, things like ice rental, coaching fees, clinics, tournament fees, etc. The remainder goes to admin costs such as league fees, credit card processing fees, etc.

Evanston Hockey works hard to keep season fees steady and we’ve got some more work to do. First, the board has committed to no fee increases for the 2018-19 season. Second, we are working to identify additional sponsorship dollars and other efficiencies – like encouraging families to pay season fees via their bank’s electronic payment system (e.g., QuickPay or Zelle) versus credit card where we incur a fee – to continue working toward keeping season fees steady.

Final Thoughts

Don’t forget that Evanston Hockey uses social media channels — Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — to provide updates and feature information about Evanston Hockey. Like and follow us today.

“While summer is upon us and it’s a good time to get away from the rink, we are excited to be planning already for next season,” Dunlap said. “Thank you to all of the families who took time to respond to the survey and provide us with opportunities for improvement. Go Kits!”

TopShare this

 
 
14U Blue Takes Second at Glacier Invitational
by posted 05/21/2018


14U Blue Takes Second at Glacier Invitational

14U Blue Takes Second at Glacier Invitational

All of Evanston Hockey’s spring teams entered the Glacier Invitational (May 5-20) and made the Wildkits proud!

Congratulations to the 14U blue team for taking second place with an overall record of 2-2, facing Winnetka twice and improving in the championship game.

Bantam orange went 2-1, losing only to eventual champions Express by a score of 3-2. Our 12U and 10U teams played strong and gained valuable experience against tough competition.

The Glacier Invitational marked the end of the spring season when players continued to work on their hockey skills, reach a higher level of play and have fun.

Thanks for a great season!

TopShare this

 
 
14U Girls Win Motown Cup
by posted 05/20/2018


14U Girls Win Motown Cup

14U Girls Win Motown Cup

Members of the inaugural 14U Evanston girls team got back together for a bit of fun and good hockey. The girls, joined by several friends, competed in the 16U division of the Motown Cup in Detroit. They handily won three preliminary games, earning a spot against the Pittsburgh Pineapples in the final game. The Kits won the tournament in an overtime shoot out, with Evanston Goalie Molly Daniel earning the MVP title for the game. While the Wildkits sported Evanston jerseys throughout the tournament, they had a bit of fun in the finals with loaner jerseys. Way to go Kits!

TopShare this

 
 
Director's Message: USA (Hockey) Proud
by posted 05/19/2018


Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris

Director's Message: USA (Hockey) Proud

You may see the posters around Robert Crown about USA Hockey or hear people talk about USA Hockey at the rink -- but what does that actually mean for your player?
 
Being a member of USA Hockey is so much more than getting a magazine mailed to your home each month and having additional insurance coverage. USA Hockey provides the foundation for hockey in the United States – for players, coaches and officials – with a primary emphasis on the support and development of hockey programs. At Evanston Hockey, we are proud members of USA Hockey and take seriously USA Hockey’s focus on providing a blueprint for age-appropriate athlete development.
 
For example, I develop and share with our coaches the skills sessions and team practices that follow USA Hockey’s manuals for each respective age group. The manuals include information about long-term athlete development, age-appropriate practice plans and specifics for different areas of focus such as body contact, goaltending, small-area games and dryland training. 
 
The coaches incorporate all of this information into their weekly practices and game execution. Each manual is just a sample of resources that are available from USA Hockey, and can be accessed here: https://www.usahockey.com/practiceplannerguides.
 
In addition, all of our coaches are USA Hockey certified, which means they must complete certification programs that include industry-leading online education modules. These modules establish standards that must be met for the level of play that coaches are coaching.
 
As an association, we adhere to SafeSport, USA Hockey’s program related to off-ice safety and take safety of our players seriously. All coaches and team managers are required to be SafeSport-screened.
 
Another cool thing about USA Hockey is that it’s the official representative to the United States Olympic Committee and International Ice Hockey Federation. That means that USA Hockey gets to organize and train men’s and women’s teams for the IIHF World Championships and the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. All of our players are one step closer to being Olympians!
 
So, the next time you see Patrick Kane or TJ Oshie on the ice, know that you’re all part of USA Hockey and should be proud.
 
Go Kits!

 

TopShare this

 
 
Evanston Hockey Renews Partnership with PCA
by posted 05/18/2018


Evanston Hockey Renews Partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance

Evanston Hockey Renews Partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance

Evanston Hockey renewed its new partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) for the 2018-19 season. PCA is a national, non-profit organization that develops better athletes and better people through resources for youth and high school coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes.

During the club’s inaugural partnership with PCA, Evanston Hockey took several steps to introduce the program to coaches, parents and players. PCA moderated workshops for our coaches and our parents at the start of the 2017-18 season; the workshops will be updated and available again for coaches and a new workshop will be available for older players at the start of the upcoming fall season. The board of directors will participate in an administrator workshop during the summer of 2018.

In addition, Evanston Hockey mom and parent volunteer Jean O’Mahoney produced monthly news articles that were available on EvanstonHockey.com and through the monthly newsletter. During Hockey Days in Evanston, all players took the “We Honor the Game” pledge by signing a PCA banner. The banner hangs at Robert Crown as a visible reminder of the club’s commitment to this valuable organization.

As a reminder, as part of this partnership, free resources are available to parents at www.PCADevZone.org. Resource cards have been handed out to game spectators with tips on how to create a positive, character-building youth sports culture.

The Positive Coaching Alliance mission is to “transform the youth sports culture into a Development Zone™ where all youth and high school athletes have a positive, character-building experience that results in better athletes, better people.”

PCA’s mission aligns perfectly with Evanston Hockey’s mission to provide all kids the opportunity to play hockey in a diverse program that is rooted in skills development, sportsmanship, outstanding coaching, leadership skills, strong character development and camaraderie. The partnership also supports our player and parent codes of conduct and zero tolerance policies, which govern the rules and ethics of the Evanston Hockey program, and promote safety, respect, integrity and sportsmanship. Finally, the program aligns with Hockey Director Del Morris’ four pillars of: respect, responsibility, honesty and sportsmanship.

TopShare this

 
 
President's Message: We've Got Goals
by posted 05/17/2018


Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap

President's Message: We've Got Goals

Hard to believe, but another season is in the books! 21 teams and over 300 players wore the Wildkit sweater proudly this season as part of our high school, travel and house programs. Overall it was quite a successful season. It was great to see so many families at the rink this season – many familiar faces and some new ones as well. 

On-Ice Success

We had some exciting on ice success, led by our high school teams. Our boys varsity team had a deep run into the playoffs and had Robert Crown rocking on several nights throughout the season; our boys JV team took home the league title with some exciting and nail biting wins; and our girls high school team had a nice run as well, advancing to the semi-finals for their division.

On the travel side, we had two of our Peewee teams advance to the NIHL Championship game, and three teams at the Squirt, Peewee and Bantam levels all took home the NorthShore Cup Title. Our house teams had a number of great wins, capped off by our Peewee blue team winning the NSYHL Gold Championship.

Additionally we had a great season with our 14U Girls team who advanced to the semifinals of the NIHL tournament. We have an unprecedented number of girls now playing with our program. 

Off-Ice Community Building

As I have discussed before, as much fun as on-ice success is, the off-ice component of Evanston Hockey is probably more important. We had a number of great community events including our kickoff picnic, Parent Funraiser, Hockey Days in Evanston Weekend and our inaugural Coach’s Game. It was also the first season of Evanston Hockey’s partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance. Workshops were held for coaches and parents with a board member workshop scheduled for this summer. The board has renewed that valuable partnership for another season.

We’ve Got Goals

While we are proud of the program that is in place, we know that there is always room for improvement. Thank you to the more than 100 families who completed our survey. The board reviews your responses carefully, and does its best to make improvements to the program.

Examples of changes made in the past three years based on your feedback include:

  • Adding specialty coaching, including goaltending coaches and shooting/skating coaches, to complement our impressive roster of professional coaches
  • Introducing weekly buzzer hockey for additional skill development and ice slot management
  • Hiring a dedicated House Hockey Director
  • Reaching an agreement with Precision Multisport to provide age-appropriate off-ice conditioning to enhance skill development
  • Signing a partnership with Positive Coaching Alliance
  • Establishing a monthly newsletter (with a regular president’s update), expanding social media and revamping information on the website to increase communications
  • Holding a parent meeting to give families a chance to meet coaches and the board and ask questions at the start of the season
  • Facilitating nameplates on the house hockey jerseys

Read the article on this year’s survey results to find out what we learned and some steps we’ll be taking to continue building on our solid foundation.

Thank You Time

Evanston Hockey’s success wouldn’t be possible without our many volunteers. I would like to recognize the countless hours they have devoted to Evanston Hockey. From everyone who volunteered to help at our events, to our volunteer house coaches, to our managers – thank you. We cannot do this without you. 

I would like to also thank my fellow board members, who volunteer their time and energy to help make Evanston Hockey what it is. From paying ice bills and officials, running the website, registering all of our teams with AHAI, communications from the club, raising money via our sponsorship program, administering the Rules and Ethics Committee and many other responsibilities, board members spend countless hours both at and away from the rink to help make things run smoothly.

In addition, I would like to thank our outstanding coaching staff. From Hockey Director Del Morris, to House Hockey Director Pat Brownlee, to all of our travel coaches, to all of our volunteer house coaches – thank you all. From the early morning and late night practices, weekend and holiday tournament games, our coaches were with our players every step of the way providing both on and off ice instruction and guidance.

My last thank you is for all you – our hockey families. The dedication it takes to be a “hockey family” is significant – and it really is a family affair. Parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles are all part of our extended Evanston Hockey family. We thank each and every one of you for the support you provide for our players and our teams.

Crown Update

From the facilities side, the Robert Crown Project continues to move forward. The schedule is to start groundbreaking at the end of the summer with doors open in the Fall of 2019. Very exciting! Many of you have generously given to this project, but fundraising efforts continue. If you are interested in donating please click here.

One Last Thing

Have a wonderful summer. It is okay to take a break from hockey! This is certainly the perfect time to get away from the rink and relax. If you still have the urge to get on the ice occasionally, however, you can register for our summer skates here.

Go Kits!

TopShare this

 
 
Crown Groundbreaking Celebration: June 22
by posted 05/15/2018


Crown Groundbreaking Celebration: June 22

Crown Groundbreaking Celebration: June 22

Join us for an evening of food, drinks, and music to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Robert Crown Center. The reception will take place on Friday, June 22nd from 7pm to 10pm at Robert Crown Park. Learn more and buy tickets here.

TopShare this

 
 
Evanston Hockey National Honor Society Inductees
by posted 05/14/2018


Seven Evanston Hockey Wildkits inducted into National Honor Society

Evanston Hockey National Honor Society Inductees

Congratulations to the Evanston Hockey high school players who were recently inducted into the Evanston Township High School National Honor Society:

  • Will Allen
  • Max Baliga
  • Andrew Cousineau
  • Kofi Hopps
  • Kelly Kleschen
  • Ella McGinley
  • Gabi Rodriguez
TopShare this

 
 
14U Orange Takes Second at Spring Classic
by posted 04/30/2018


14U Orange Takes Second in Chicago Spring Classic Tournament

14U Orange Takes Second at Chicago Spring Classic

Six Evanston Hockey teams entered this spring’s Chicago Spring Classic tournament (April 27-29) and represented the Wildkits well!

Congratulations to the 14U (bantam) orange team for taking second place with an overall record of 4-1, and to the 12U (peewee) orange team for winning the consolation game with an overall record of 2-2. Four other teams that competed are: 10U (squirt) orange, 10U (squirt) blue, 12U (peewee) blue and 14U (bantam) blue.

The tournaments are an opportunity to practice the skills players are learning during the weekly skills-specific stations as part of the spring season. All 10U-14U teams will participate in the next tournament during the week of May 15-20.

NOTE: For the week of April 30, the skills focus will be power skating and will be led by Coach Christian Grunnah.

REMINDER: There will be NO practices or scrimmages on May 2-6 due to the figure skating ice show at Robert Crown. Practices will resume on Monday, May 7. The spring 2018 season runs through May 20.

TopShare this

 
 
National Tournament Features Wildkits
by posted 04/04/2018


Clockwise from top left: Sophie Berghammer, Deanna Buenzow, Luiza Santos, Maya Ballard, Zoe Durston, Molly Jo Krupkin, Bradley Bellios

USA Hockey National Youth Tournament Features Wildkits

There may be no playoffs for the Blackhawks this season, but there’s plenty of post-season hockey to watch that includes a special group of Evanston Hockey players.

Several current and past Wildkits girls players are competing in the USA Hockey Youth Nationals tournament that starts this weekend, April 5-7 (see below for link to schedule and to watch the games).

Current Evanston Girls High School players Maya Ballard and Sophie Berghammer are double-rostered on the Chicago Young Americans AAA girls 14U team along with past Wildkits players Deanna Buenzow and Luiza Santos. Zoe Durston who double-rosters on the Evanston Girls High School team also plays on a girls 16U Falcons joined by former Wildkits player Stephanie Smith. Two other former Wildkits, Bradley Bellios and Molly Jo Krupkin play for the all-girls North Shore Warhawks.

The players credit Evanston Hockey and our coaches for helping them develop skills that have taken their games to the next level. Several donned the “C” or “A” for their respective mixed-gender Wildkits teams.

“I talked to every coach I could about how to improve my skills – and I spent as much time on the ice as I could,” Ballard has previously said. “[Evanston] is a great organization with great coaches and kids.”

A ninth grader, Ballard was a member of the first-ever girls 14U team during the 2016-17 season and continues to play for the Wildkits on the Girls High School team along with Berghammer and Durston.

“One of my favorite memories of Evanston Hockey is when I was the only girl on my 14U (Bantam) team, and I totally deked a boy on a play,” Durston said. “Coach Sam [Bodine] was like ‘Was that Durston?’, which was awesome because he treated me like any other member of the team, not like I was the ‘girl’ on the team.”

Durston started playing hockey in fifth grade. She and her sister Margot were members of the inaugural girls U14 team, along with Smith who now attends Loyola Academy. The Durstons play together on the Evanston Girls High School team.

Fellow high school player Berghammer started with “learn to skate” and “hockey skills” classes at Robert Crown as a kindergartener and then played on Evanston Hockey house and travel teams. She’s currently in ninth grade, and her favorite memories are those of traveling to away tournaments, especially with the girls 14U team.

Buenzow and Santos, who are both current eighth graders, played travel hockey for the Wildkits through second-year 10U (squirt).

With the Wildkits, Buenzow had the added benefit of playing with her older brother, Matthew, and says that winning the Wisconsin Dells tournament with him on the ice with her was a highlight.

Santos fondly remembers winning the Holland Tournament during her second-year 10U (squirt) season with Evanston Hockey, especially hanging out at the hotel with her teammates. She hopes to play again for the Wildkits next season as part of the Evanston Girls High School team.

Bellios and Krupkin played with Evanston through sixth grade before switching to an all-girls team. The ninth graders' favorite memories playing for the Wildkits come from a shoot out game where both girls scored.

The USA Hockey Youth Nationals games take place this weekend, April 5-7, in Marlborough, Massachusetts, just outside Boston, and will be webcast for those who’d like to watch: https://usahockey.hockeytv.com/#/

The game schedule for all games can be found here: https://nationals.usahockey.com/2018

Let’s hope these current and alum Wildkits keep making memories. Good luck from the Wildkits!

 

TopShare this

 
 
Ricketts Receives Evanston Hockey’s Highest Honor
by posted 03/18/2018


Ricketts Receives Evanston Hockey’s Highest Honor; 17 Additional Players Honored at High School Banquet

Ricketts Receives Evanston Hockey’s Highest Honor; 17 Additional Players Honored at High School Banquet

During Evanston Hockey’s annual high school banquet, Evanston Township High School senior and Evanston Hockey varsity captain Isaiah Ricketts was named the winner of the Al Tisdahl Memorial Award. The award is Evanston Hockey’s highest honor and recognizes the Wildkits senior who best exemplifies the virtues of the organization.

Al Tisdahl, who passed away in 2000, was beloved during his long tenure as President of Evanston Hockey. Ricketts joins 17 seniors who have won the award in the past. Ricketts also received the varsity team’s offensive MVP award and was named to the league’s All Star and All State teams.

Also during the high school banquet, which took place at Ten Mile House on March 11, an additional 17 varsity, JV and girls high school players were also honored. See below for full list. Congratulations to everyone and thank you for making Evanston proud. #SkateLikeAWildkit

HIGH SCHOOL AWARDS FOR 2017-18 SEASON

Varsity

  • Defense MVP: Teddy Lambert
  • Offense MVP: Isaiah Ricketts
  • Most Improved Player: Joe Epler
  • Rookie of Year: Campbell Wagener
  • Coaches Award: Gabi Rodriguez and Kofi Hopps
  • All Star: Isaiah Ricketts and Teddy Lambert
  • All State: Isaiah Ricketts
  • Al Tisdahl Award: Isaiah Ricketts

JV

  • Defense MVP: Will Bodine
  • Offense MVP: Jonah Doppelt
  • Most Improved Player: Dashiel Hovland
  • Rookie of Year: Karlo Papa
  • Coaches Award: Drew McDermott
  • All Star Jonah Doppelt and Karlo Papa

Girls High School

  • Defense MVP: Zoe Lydon
  • Offense MVP: Caroline Job
  • Most Improved Player: Olivia DiPadova
  • Rookie of Year: Maya Ballard
  • Coaches Award: Kelly Kleschen
  • All State: Val Ruley
TopShare this

 
 
Director's Message: Spring Season Kicks Off
by posted 03/14/2018


Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris

Director's Message: Spring Season Kicks Off

It's been great seeing so many players back on the ice for our spring program. Our renewed emphasis on skills development for the spring means that players will get dedicated specialty practices led by coaches with specific skills training, like power skating, shooting/scoring and stick handling/defense. I'm confident players at all levels will improve their skills and have fun while doing so.

In addition to the skills weeks, our 10U-14U teams will have scrimmage games each week at Robert Crown. These teams will also play in 1-2 local tournaments and potentially some league games. We are also committed to our girls program, and are happy to be offering an Evanston Hockey girls 12U-14U program this spring with skills weeks and games. Our traditional boys high school program also takes place in the spring with skills weeks and approximately 10 games.

So, even though it's spring, we're still thinking hockey and offering a competitive program to keep kids playing and gearing up for the fall. Stay tuned for more information coming soon about summer offerings as well.

Also, I'd like to congratulate all of our teams who finished the fall season strong. Our JV team won the championship, two 12U teams made it to the NIHL championship games, our 12U blue house team won the NSYHL playoffs, our 10U orange house team made it to the NSYHL championship game and the Evanston Junior Wildkits won the 8U championships. We also had three travel teams enter and three teams win the North Shore Cup end-of-season tournament.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone for coming out to the coach game this past weekend. I know our coaches had a great time, and it was the perfect way to kick off our spring season. See you at the rink soon.

TopShare this

 
 
Parent Resource: Growth Mindset -- Does it Matter?
by posted 03/10/2018


Parent Resource: Growth Mindset -- Does it Matter?

Parent Resource: Growth Mindset -- Does it Matter?

Watching the Winter Olympic games, you may have noticed that Norway won a lot of medals. And you might have said to yourself—those Norwegians have a lot of cold weather and mountains: of course they are good at winter sports. You would be mostly wrong. The youth sports program in Norway does not formally begin until children reach the age of 13. Sports are seen in the development arena and a place for children to grow and learn to be teammates. Formal competition and team placement does not begin until age 13. Contrast this with the United States, where 70% quit organized sports by the age of 13 often because they are no longer “fun” or they are already burned out.

Norway is a lot smaller and a whole lot more socialist than the USA, which certainly helps this approach. But this brings up the concept of the “growth mindset,” which is increasingly being applied to youth sports and has always lived in educational circles. A growth mindset (Carol Dweck Ph.D., Stanford University) is the belief that abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work: talent may be where someone starts but is not predictive of where they end up. A fixed mindset starts with the idea that talent is responsible for success and the focus is more on outcomes and scores than the process of learning.

In children, whose bodies and brains are growing and developing, there is a lot of cognitive and motor learning in all sports. When kids feel like their learning and development is being recognized, they develop an internal sense of pride and accomplishment and want to keep working. When the focus is on winning games and pushing kids to be the “best” player on the “best” team, this creates a fixed system and sacrifices many of the benefits that our Norwegian colleagues have cultivated for many years in early childhood. Early specialization and early success does not often predict future athletic performance just like early reading ability does not predict Nobel laureates.

At home, reward and acknowledge effort. Educate your children on the value of working hard and loving your sport, your coaches and your team. You will have happier and healthier kids who will stay with sports longer and this will translate into resilience and commitment in other challenges in life. If you are interested in learning more about Norway and Carol Dweck’s research on the growth mindset, please see the attached video and article.

Video: http://devzone.positivecoach.org/browse/videos%20on%20growth%20mindset

Article: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/winter-olympics-2018/2018/02/18/norway-dominating-2018-winter-olympics-medal-count/350369002/

TopShare this

 
 
First-Ever Coach Classic a Big Hit
by posted 03/10/2018


Nearly 40 coaches turned in their clipboards to hit the ice during the first-ever Evanston Hockey Coach Classic

First-Ever Coach Classic a Big Hit

Nearly 40 coaches turned in their clipboards to hit the ice during the first-ever Evanston Hockey Coach Classic on Saturday, March 10. The coaches brought more than 200 combined years of coaching experience to impress and entertain the packed stands at Robert Crown Center. Photos -- courtesy of Evanston Hockey dad George Efstathiou -- can be found on our Facebook page.

Team White, led by Goalie Coach Fabrice Chavannes, took the early lead and the teams battled evenly, entering the third period tied 4-4.  In the end, though, Team Blue, led by Hockey Director and Varsity Coach Del Morris, bested Team White, 7-4.

Team White player Christian Grunnah, who coached three teams during the 2017-18 season, was named game MVP by our illustrious game announcers, Bryan Flangel and Gina Ballard.

In addition to being treated to some great hockey, fans also had the chance to participate in some coach trivia to win Hockey is for Everyone pucks or Chipotle gift cards, courtesy of USA Hockey. Evanston Hockey is honored to be a Hockey is for Everyone grant recipient.

A big shout out to our Junior Wildkits team 2 players who were all at the game, earning each player an Evanston Hockey hat for 100 percent participation.

During the game, volunteers also sold snacks and raffle tickets. Raffle winners are:

  • John White: free week of hockey camp at Robert Crown courtesy of Robert Crown staff
  • Marie Dickey: free three-session pass at Precision Multisport courtesy of JP Bordeleau, former Evanston Hockey director and co-founder of Precision Multisport
  • Marc Bear: free three-session pass at Precision Multisport courtesy of JP Bordeleau, former Evanston Hockey director and co-founder of Precision Multisport

Congratulations to our raffle winners and THANK YOU to all of our coaches for playing and, most importantly, for setting a great example of sportmanship, skills development, outstanding coaching, leadership skills, strong character development and camaraderie.

A big thank you to our volunteers, especially Gretchen Nord and Stephanie Davis for organizing the event.

We're looking forward to making this an annual event. Go Kits!

TopShare this

 
 
12U (Peewee) Blue Wins Championship
by posted 03/10/2018


12U (Peewee) Blue Wins Championship

12U (Peewee) Blue Wins Championship

Congratulations to 12U (peewee) blue on winning its North Shore Youth Hockey League Gold Championship. The Wildkits went 3-0 in its playoff round robin bracket, beating Pleasant Prairie, Glenview and Highland Park, and earning a place in the championship game this weekend vs. Pleasant Prairie. Robert Crown was the host site for the bracket, so the Kits were able to play the championship game at their its rink with the stands packed. The Kits did not disappoint their home crowd, battling hard to win an exciting 4-1 game.

The Wildkits went into the game confident, having beaten this Pleasant Prairie team 9-0 to start their playoff run. But Pleasant Prairie came ready for the big game, taking an early 1-0 lead. That didn’t deter the Wildkits who got rolling in the second period and tied the game 1-1. They continued to play as a team, and shut down the Pleasant Prairie team while putting a few more pucks in the back of the net before the final buzzer. It was a true team effort, with all players contributing to the 4-1 victory.

A big thank you to volunteer coaches Brett Barker, Parker Colvin and Ravi Baichwal for their guidance and leadership throughout the season. The 12U (peewee) blue team had a mix of experienced players and those new to the game, but the team came together, supported each other and all players improved over the course of the season. 

Way to go Wildkits!

TopShare this

 
 
Three Teams Entered, Three Champs Named
by posted 03/08/2018


10U, 12U and 14U teams win North Shore Cup Championships

Three Teams Entered, Three Teams Named Champs

Congratulations to three Evanston Hockey teams for winning the North Shore Cup in their respective age brackets.

10U (Squirt) Team 3

Our 10U (squirt) team 3 went 2-1-0 in round robin play to make it to the championship game. The championship offered an opportunity to avenge the Kits’ only loss in the tournament — to the Northbrook Bluehawks — and a loss in a regular season matchup. The game in the opening round of the tournament was very tight but the Kits were able to control the play for much of the championship game. Two third period goals secured the 4-2 victory.

12U (Peewee) Team 3

Our 12U (peewee) 3 team polished off its season with the championship win. The team went 2-0-1 during round robin play, which put them in the championship game. In the championship game the Kits faced off against its suburban rival Wilmette, which Evanston had narrowly beat in round robin play. The championship game was a close affair. Wilmette struck first and the score went back and forth the entire game, going into OT with the Wildkits netting the game winning goal only 1:35 into the OT period.

14U (Bantam) Team 2

Our 14U (bantam) team 2 went 2-0-1 in round robin play to make it to the championship game against Glenview. In the championship game, the Wildkits bested the Stars by the same score — 4-0 — as they did in round robin play.

Many thanks to all of our coaches who have spent countless hours with kids during the season, and helping them develop their hockey skills. Go Kits!

TopShare this

 
 
Hockey is for EveryBODY
by posted 03/04/2018


14U player Jack sells bracelets at Hockey Days to support the Disabled Hockey Festival; Wildkits scrimmage with Blackhawks Special Hockey Team

Hockey is for EveryBODY

Jack’s Bar Mitzvah project. What to do to give back? Something that he can connect with, get others involved in and be motivated by? So many need so much, and he’s just a kid. But, it all starts with one…

Reading the October AHAI newsletter, the headline was “Volunteers needed for the 2018 Disabled Hockey Festival in Chicago!” Wait. How perfect! I’ve never even heard of this! It’s the second largest USA Hockey event, after the Pond Hockey National Championships. Fast forward five months, and our entire family has become involved with this incredible event. Even better, Evanston Hockey has become involved, and our players and families are giving back, in a big way.

Hundreds of emails later, we connected with coaches and volunteers, trying to make this the biggest and best Disabled Hockey Festival ever. Turns out, it will be. In its 14th year, the Festival moves to a different city every year. This year, it takes place over the first two weekends in April at the Leafs Ice Center in West Dundee and the Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva. More than 1,500 athletes from the USA, Canada and the UK will compete in Blind/Visually Impaired, Deaf/Hard of Hearing, Standing Amputee, Warrior, Special and Sled Hockey. The entire second weekend is devoted to Sled with more than 75 Sled teams competing.

Once the athletes arrive, all of their expenses are covered. Ice time, awards, meals, transportation, housing, team banners, gifts – all covered for these inspirational athletes. That means raising more than $200,000. Jack sold USA Hockey Disabled Festival wristbands at Hockey Days in Evanston. The response to learning about this festival was amazing. Parents and kids both wanting to get involved.

Enter the Chicago Blackhawks Special Hockey team. Some of our Evanston Wildkits scrimmaged with the Chicago Blackhawks Special Hockey team for two hours on a Sunday at the MB Ice Arena. For all of the parents in the stands, this scrimmage will be one of the best hockey parent memories. As one of the coaches from the Special Hockey team said, “Your boys got it.” 

Our Kits were gracious and giving teammates out there, passing the puck to the CBSH team players, cheering on every goal made and every goal stopped. To see our boys high five and hug the CBSH players brought tears to our eyes in the stands. A player with Downs Syndrome scored his first goal ever that day. His dad happened to be at the glass and caught that moment on his phone. His dad said that being a part of the Blackhawks Special Hockey Team has changed his son’s life. It has changed ours, too.

The Disabled Hockey Festival has a saying, “Hockey is for everyBODY.” The scrimmage between the Evanston Wildkits and the Blackhawks Special Hockey team will hopefully become an annual event, creating a partnership between our Evanston Hockey community and the Chicago Blackhawks Special Hockey team for years to come. 

Never underestimate the power of your kid and one project. He might just change some lives.

Feeling inspired? Want to volunteer during the Disabled Hockey Festival? See below for your chance to sign up!

Volunteer Sign up for West Dundee- Week 1, April 5th to the 8th and Week 2, April 12th to the 15th
Week 1-Leafs Ice Centre Sign Up
Week 2- Leafs Ice Centre Sign Up

Volunteer Sign up for Geneva- Week 1, April 5th to the 8th and Week 2, April 12th to the 15th
Week 1-Fox Valley Ice Arena Sign Up
Week 2-Fox Valley Ice Arena Sign Up

Volunteer Sign up for Hoffman Estates-Only April 13th
Week 2-Hoffman Estates Volunteer Sign Up

Volunteer Sign up for the Social Event on Friday nights
Week 1-Social Event, April 6th
Week 2-Social Event, April 13th

 

TopShare this

 
 
12U Team 3 Places Second in NIHL Playoffs
by posted 03/04/2018


12U Team 3 Places Second in NIHL Playoffs

12U Team 3 Places Second in NIHL Playoffs

Congratulations to our 12U (peewee) team 3 for placing second in the NIHL Blackhawks Cup playoff tournament. The third seeded Wildkits earned a bye week in the first playoff game and then defeated #6 Sabres and #2 Yellowjackets in tightly contested matchups to earn the trip to the championship game on Sunday, March 4. The Wildkits faced the top seeded Cyclones in the championship game, falling in sudden death overtime but battling the entire game.

While the championship game outcome wasn't as hoped, the Wildkits played a great season and wrapped up with a 11-2-3 regular season record.

Moreover, the championship game was an amazing experience for all involved. During a pre-game ceremony complete with a light show, music and danceoff competition, players skated onto the ice guided by a spotlight and honored their parents with a rose and photo.

A big thanks to coaches Deon Kidd and Kyle Howard for their leadership and guidance throughout the season. The kids got better on and off the ice thanks to them!

Way to go, Kits!

TopShare this

 
 
12U Team 1 Places Second in NIHL Playoffs
by posted 02/25/2018


12U (peewee) team 1 places second in Gold A division of NIHL playoffs

12U Team 1 Places Second in NIHL Playoffs

Congratulations to our 12U (peewee) team 1 for placing second in the NIHL Blackhawks Cup playoff tournament. The Wildkits went 2-0-1 in round robin play to make it to the championship game on Sunday, Feb. 25 where the second seeded Wildkits fell to the top seeded Peoria Rivermen in a hard fought game.

It was expected to be a tough game all around. In seeding round play, the Wildkits beat the Rivermen by a score of 4-2 and then tied 4-4 and lost 1-0 in regular season play.  While the championship game outcome wasn't as hoped, the Wildkits played a great season and wrapped up with a 13-2-3 regular season record.

Moreover, the championship game was an amazing experience for all involved. During a pre-game ceremony complete with a light show, music and danceoff competition, players skated onto the ice guided by a spotlight and honored their moms with a rose and photo. Players also took individual photos with their coaches and some participated in post-game interviews as part of a commemorative video.

A big thanks to coaches Dave Crews and Franco Valentino for their leadership and guidance throughout the season. The kids got better on and off the ice thanks to them!

Way to go, Kits!

TopShare this

 
 
JV Wins League Championship
by posted 02/24/2018


Evanston Hockey Junior Varsity Wins Championship

Evanston Hockey Junior Varsity Wins Championship

Hockey fans will be talking about this game for some time. Evanston Hockey’s JV team won 1-0 with a last minute goal against the Latin Romans on Saturday, Feb. 24, to capture the Illinois High School Hockey Association’s Champions Cup for the North Central division.

The amazing back and forth chess match went down to the wire with the officiating crew already discussing what the overtime rules were. Forward Rory Nutkevitch ended that conversation when he netted the game winning goal with only 39 seconds left in the third period.

Nutkevich scored by riffling the puck past the goaltender – off the post – during a power play. He was assisted by defensive partners Karlo Papa and Will Bodine. Freshman goaltender Owen DeStefano secured the win and the shutout victory.

The Wildkits’ playoff run began with wins over Deerfield (score: 3-1), the Kings (score: 4-2) and Libertyville (score: 2-1). After going up 3-0 for the tournament, a 1-0 loss to Maine got the skaters focused and ready to finish.

The semi-final game against number one seeded Highland Park was just another challenge for this team. A very physical game landed the Wildkits yet another victory (score: 2-1) with alternate captain Jonah Doppelt tallying both goals for Evanston.

The championship was all made possible by the hard work of both the players and coaching staff. Coaches Zack Nauert, Christian Grunnah and Darius Mack had the players prepared for battle and continued to guide them through the final seconds of the game. The character that the coaching staff and players carried through the entire season is the finest example of what being a Wildkit is.

“What more can I say about these kids? They battled through so much adversity and came out on top,” said Coach Zack. “Evanston JV is finally bringing home the league title and I couldn’t be more proud to be their coach.”

Next up for the JV team is its second game in the state playoffs on March 3 versus Providence Catholic. Prior to the team’s first league semi-final game, the Wildkits played against the higher ranked Nequa Valley in the state playoffs where Nutkevitch netted both Wildkit goals for the 2-0 victory with another shutout for DeStefano.

The diverse history of the team with players coming from the house program, travel program, neighboring programs, some starting hockey late and some putting in extra efforts outside of Evanston Hockey was a true reflection of the City of Evanston.  

Congratulations to the JV hockey team on the first place finish and thank you as well for making the Evanston Hockey and City of Evanston community proud!

TopShare this

 
 
Evanston Hockey Elects Officers, Adds New Board Member
by posted 02/17/2018


Evanston Hockey Elects Officers, Adds New Board Member

Evanston Hockey Elects Officers, Adds New Board Member

At its annual meeting, the Evanston Hockey board of directors elected its officers for the 2018-19 season and elected a new board member who will serve as secretary. Evanston Hockey board members are volunteers who serve three-year terms, which can be renewed once.

Officers
President: Brad Dunlap
As president, Dunlap presides over the board and represents Evanston Hockey at the Amateur Hockey Association-Illinois (AHAI) and Northern Illinois Hockey League (NIHL) meetings. He works with Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris and the board to further the association’s mission. He has been on the board since 2014 and this will be his second season serving as president. He has two kids who play hockey, a son who is a 14U (bantam) and a daughter who is an 8U (mite).

Treasurer: Steve Nelson
As treasurer, Nelson is responsible for the day-to-day management of our non-profit organization’s financial requirements. Nelson, an audit supervisor for a government entity, served as treasurer of the Evanston Jr. Wildkits and has been on the board since 2017. His son is a 10U (squirt) player.

Assistant Treasurer: Joe Maguire
As assistant treasurer, Maguire is responsible for the budget and bookkeeping of our non-profit organization. Maguire, a director of finance at an international manufacturer, has been on the board since 2017. His daughter plays on the girls’ high school team.

Secretary: Kim DiPadova
DiPadova was elected to the board in 2018 as the secretary, replacing Dani Barker. As secretary, DiPadova will keep the minutes of the board of director meetings. Barker will remain as registrar. DiPadova will remain the club’s SafeSport Coordinator and serve on the Rules & Ethics Committee. She has two kids who play hockey, a son who is a 14U (bantam) and a daughter who plays on the girls’ high school team.

The board also renewed the term for Marina Marich for another three year term. Marich is the board member responsible for club marketing and board communications. She has two sons who play 10U (squirt) and 12U (peewee).

Retiring Members
Evanston Hockey would like to thank John Robinson for his years of service. Robinson was elected to the board in 2015. He served as Evanston Hockey’s representative with the Illinois High School Hockey League and the manager coordinator for our travel and high school teams. Robinson will help transition his work to two other volunteers.

Current board member Gary DeStefano will take on the additional role of high school representative. DeStefano is also the house liaison between the board and the house program. He has two sons who play JV and Varsity.

Mark Marich has been named the manager coordinator. Marich has been a travel team manager for three seasons. He will be responsible for identifying and training managers; serving as a liaison between the board and managers; and communicating with team managers throughout the season on important milestones and updates. This is a non-board role.

Please join us in thanking our volunteer board members for their dedication to providing boys and girls in Evanston and neighboring communities the opportunity to play hockey in a diverse program that is rooted in skills development, sportsmanship, outstanding coaching, leadership skills, strong character development and camaraderie.

TopShare this

 
 
Director's Message: Season Winding Down
by posted 02/12/2018


Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris

Director's Message: Season Winds Down

As we near the end of the 2017-18 season, I want to thank all of our players, coaches and parents for their hard work, dedication and sacrifice this season. And I want to congratulate all of our teams that made the playoffs and wish them luck as they represent the Wildkits in their upcoming games.

I had the chance to work with all of our teams this year — on the bench for games, attending team practices and coaching players during our skill nights. I really enjoyed working with the coaches and players, and it was rewarding to see how much the kids progressed. When I see the effort and the hard word the kids put into hockey, it makes my job that much better. And I feel the kids have improved their game and formed bonds with memories that will last a lifetime.

No need to hang up the skates just yet, though. We have an exciting spring season lined up that will emphasize skill development for players at all levels of house, travel and high school. The spring program will feature skills stations and be led by a coaching staff with decades of combined experience at youth, high school, college and international hockey levels. We are also offering two spring girls programs, one at the 12U-14U level and another at the high school level, along with a boys high school program. I look forward to seeing all of our players on the ice. Be sure to register today.

Let's go Kits!

TopShare this

 
 
President's Message: Brad Dunlap
by posted 02/11/2018


Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap

In the Home Stretch

We have hit the home stretch of the season. Most of our teams have completed regular season play and many are on to the playoffs. The boys Varsity team is on a great post-season run, and I would encourage you all to head out to see them play arch rival New Trier in a best-of-three game series

This is also the time of year we say thank you – thank you to all of our countless volunteers who give of their time to make Evanston Hockey what it is. From all of board members, to our managers, to our coaches, to everyone who has pitched in during events such as Hockey Days in Evanston – thank you. We can’t do this without you.

Most importantly I would like to thank all of our families for their unwavering support of their players and teams. Early practices, drives to weekend road games through the snow, out of town tournaments – just a few things that parents, siblings, grandparents and other family members sacrifice for our players. It is a long season to be sure, but seeing the continued enthusiasm of our young players as they hit the ice with smiles on their faces makes it worth it.

Go Kits!

TopShare this

 
 
All-State Team: Two Evanston Hockey Players Named
by posted 01/30/2018


Val Ruley, junior, and Isaiah Ricketts, senior, named to 2018 All-State team

Two Evanston Hockey Players Named to 2018 Illinois All-State Team

Evanston Hockey congratulates two players who have been named to the 2018 Illinois All-State Team:

  • Isaiah Ricketts, forward, senior, ETHS
  • Val Ruley, forward, senior, Evanston Girls

This marks the fourth time for Ruley and the second time for Ricketts being named to the exclusive team. Players were selected by the High School Varsity coaches throughout the State of Illinois. The 2018 Boys High School All-State game and the 2018 Girls High School All-State game will be played on Monday, February 12, 2018 at the Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville, Illinois. The Girls’ game will start at 6:40 p.m. and the Boys’ game will begin at 8:35 p.m.

Admission to the High School Hockey All-State Games is FREE. Mark your calendars now to come watch the best play the best in both the girls and the boys divisions. Unable to attend? AHAI will livestream both games. See details here.

Congratulations to Ricketts and Ruley, and thanks for representing the Wildkits!

UPDATE

Ricketts scores a goal and an assist in his team's 9-2 victory in the All-State game. Way to go!

TopShare this

 
 
WOW! Hockey Days 2018 Shines
by posted 01/29/2018


Teams go 10-2-3 during two day event, which raises $4,100 for player financial aid

WOW! Hockey Days 2018 Shines

Thank you to everyone who celebrated Hockey Days in Evanston – it was a great success! Our teams went 10-2-3 over the two days and we raised $4,100 to support player financial aid. Most importantly, the Evanston Hockey community grew even stronger.

Evanston Hockey is a non-profit organization that is committed to providing all children the opportunity to play hockey in a diverse program rooted in skills, leadership and character development along with sportsmanship and camaraderie.

Raffle Winners
- Personalized brick for the new Robert Crown: TJ Kolke
- Autographed Brent Seabrook puck: Dan Tepper
- Autographed Nick Schmaltz photo: Katie Vandehey
- Blackhawks tickets: John Epler
- Custom CCM gloves from Play It Again Sports: K. Evans
- Shoot the Puck contestant: Jaxson Ghate
- M&Ms: Stacy Reynolds [2378 was correct amount; she guessed 2332]

All-Star Challenge & Deke Del Competition
Thanks to everyone who participated in the first-ever Wildkit All-Star Challenge and second annual Deke Del competition – everyone had fun and we have some winners to announce. Also, if your child participated in the challenge and did not get a t-shirt, please contact asap to get one.

8U (Mite)
Obstacle: Bratt
Shot: Mancini
Accuracy: Mancini

10U (Squirt)
Obstacle: Gilbertson
Shot: I. Marich
Accuracy: Moreno

12U (Peewee)
Obstacle: R. Marich
Shot: Val
Accuracy: canceled due to time

These players deked Del (great job!)
Bird
Stegich
Poulin
Santos (waved off, goalie interference)

Sponsor Thank You
Please be sure to thank and patronize our many sponsors who help make Hockey Days in Evanston possible!

If you have ideas on how to make Hockey Days in Evanston even better next  year, please reach out to We’re always looking for new ideas and more families to participate.

Go Kits!

TopShare this

 
 
Wildkits Take on Tournaments
by posted 01/20/2018


Wildkits 10U (squirt) 2 team takes 1st place and 10U (squirt) 1 team takes 2nd place in Indianapolis

Wildkits Take on Tournaments

Evanston 10U (squirt), 12U (peewee) and 14U (bantam) teams hit the road over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, trekking to tournaments in Madison, Michigan and Indianapolis.
 
The Evanston 10U (squirt) 2 team brought home the championship banner from the Brickyard tournament in Indianapolis, going undefeated in four games and dominating their opponents on both ends of the ice.
 
They got off to a slow start, falling quickly behind 3-0 in Game One against the Belfry Playmakers from Columbus, Ohio. But they never played from behind again, clinching the title with a 7-2 victory in a rematch with the Playmakers.
 
“Our players had a successful weekend because they utilized each other, learned from their mistakes, and stayed resilient in high-pressure situations,” said Head Coach Christian Grunnah.  “It was exciting to see the kids achieve such progress over the weekend both as a team and individually.”
 
10U (squirt) 1 made it to the finals in the same tournament, going 2-0-1 in round robin play, including a resounding 12-3 victory over the Glenview Stars. The Kits fell in the Brickyard finals to the Northwest Chargers, a familiar foe that they topped in the championship game of the Holland tournament last October.  
 
12U (peewee) 2 fought hard but dropped all four contests at the Brickyard, turning in their strongest performance in the final game, when they lost 6-5 to the Belfry Playmakers.
 
14U (bantam) 2 traveled to the Indianapolis area to play in a tournament hosted by the Junior Fuel Hockey Club. Entered in a tough A2 division—a higher level than they normally play—the 14U team lost its four games but competed hard, learning how to play as team and work hard to the final buzzer.
 
Over in Michigan, 12U (peewee) 1 advanced to the semi-finals at the Big Chill Tournament outside Detroit, but couldn't get past a gritty Dearborn (Michigan) Belle Tire team, falling 4-2. The Wildkits earned the overall #1 seed (out of eight teams) going into the semi-finals with wins over the Chelsea Chiefs (7-4) and local rival Wilmette Braves (8-2) as well as a 3-3 tie against the Troy Sting.
 
Titan Mrozik struck first for Evanston in the semi-finals but Dearborn notched two goals in the final minute of the first period and four straight to end the Wildkits' run short of the finals.
 
Up in Madison, 10U (squirt) 3 went 2-2 in the Mad City Midwinter Classic, pulling off two lopsided victories over the Wilmette Braves while dropping one to the Naperville Sabres and another to the Vipers from Gurnee.
 
12U (peewee) 3 suffered a couple of early losses in the Mad City tournament. However, the team showed some grit and bounced back to win their final two games against Wilmette and the Northwest Chargers and finish in 3rd place.

TopShare this

 
 
Stinky Boots and Game Sweaters: Post-Game Traditions
by posted 01/13/2018


The "stinky boot" ranks among the more creative post-game traditions by Coach Jimmy Kahn

Stinky Boots and Game Sweaters: Post-Game Traditions

In hockey, there is no shortage of traditions. Player handshakes after every game. Tossing hats onto the ice after a hat trick. Lifting a stick to acknowledge the crowd. Playoff beards.

Among the most memorable for players, however, is the post-game object that’s handed out to that game’s most deserving player. Everyone in Chicago knows about the championship belt the Blackhawks passed around during their 2010 Stanley Cup run. Hats and shovels have also made an appearance during other NHL teams’ post-game interviews.

It’s a tradition that virtually all teams – from the pros to youth teams – continue to this day. The same is true for Evanston Hockey.

So, it got us thinking: what objects do Evanston Hockey coaches hand out and why? Not surprising, there are some creative ones in this bunch. Read on to learn more.

Stinky Boot
Perhaps you have seen a work boot lying around the rink and wondered what it’s doing there. It’s Coach Jimmy Kahn’s “work boot,” that’s given to the hardest working players of the game or to reward things the coaches have been emphasizing that game, week or month. And, yes, that boot is legit. “I worked in them every day from when I bought them around 2001 until a few years ago,” Coach Jimmy said. One boot goes to one of his 10U (squirt) team 1 players and the other is with a 14U (bantam) team 1 player.

Sweater Time
Most youth jerseys are relegated to backs of closets or parent’s basements. But Coach Deon Kidd found a great way to resurrect his jerseys to recognize offensive play and hard work for his 12U (peewee) 3 team.

His junior jersey from his year with the Boulder Bison goes to the player who creates active team play with assists and goals. His jersey from the year he played pro for the Hannover Scorpions is known as the hardworking jersey. He wants to recognize hard work because he knows what it means to put in the extra effort. “I always had to put in the extra time on the ice and off the ice to achieve my dream,” Coach Deon said. He added that he likes the idea of handing out a post-game item – which wasn’t common on his European teams – because “it is a great method to bring the team together and teach life lessons of speaking up and making a big decision.”

The Belt
Dave Crews introduced a traveling championship wrestling belt for his 12U (peewee) 1 team. It’s given to the player who worked hardest during the game and the recipient is decided by the previous “champion” from the game prior.

The 10U (squirt) 2 team also hands out a WWE wrestling belt to the player with the biggest impact or effort in a game. The previous winner also passes it on to the net player and says something about their teammate’s play during the game. Assistant Coach Greg Sprenzel explains that the team has started a chanting tradition of “Put it on! Put it on!” once the belt is handed off. The player who receives the belt has to wear it over their shoulder when they exit the locker room. But players better not forget the belt for the next game. If they forget it, they have the same punishment as forgetting a piece of equipment.

Game Puck
From the earliest ages, a game puck brings pure joy to budding hockey players and fans. Coach Jimmy and Coach Tim Riley look to hand out a game puck to the player who exhibits the most offensive skills during a game. Although Coach Jimmy’s favorite games are team wins when everyone contributes and the coaches can’t identify only one or two players to recognize.

Coach Greg was a recipient of a few game pucks during his youth hockey days and said, “It was great to be recognized for my effort and hustle with an item that I could use to remember and reflect on how well I played that game.”

Perhaps the most poignant story of handing out a game puck has to go to veteran Coach Don Howard. One season, he had a large team of 20 players, many of them new to hockey. He said that the newer players figured they had almost no chance at a game puck, while there were a few strong players who deserved them daily.

After one game toward the end of the season, one of the newer players who struggled during the season made a few strong plays that stood out. Coach Don said that this player didn’t score a goal, didn’t make a pass for a goal, didn’t forecheck or backcheck at a pivotal moment but he did grow as a player and got better. He then handed the puck to the player who jumped up and was amazed.

“Those ten seconds are up near the top of the 20 years, 100 teams, 1,000 games in my special moments coaching,” Coach Don said.

TopShare this

 
 
Coach Feature: Pete Wiersma
by posted 01/12/2018


Evanston Hockey Coach Pete Wiersma during his University of Michigan playing days

Pete Wiersma: Living, Playing and Coaching by Three Rules

As the youngest of three boys, Coach Pete Wiersma’s hockey playing career started as expected: with a pillow stuffed up his shirt, couch cushions taped to his legs and baseball mitt in hand so he could be the goalie in his older brother’s 1V1 games in the driveway, basement or neighborhood pond.

The Grand Rapids, Michigan, native officially started playing organized youth hockey as a first-year 10U (squirt) player, playing for a variety of Michigan youth hockey teams, going to nationals as a senior in high school and ultimately completing his competitive hockey career with the University of Michigan Wolverines ACHA program. Today, Coach Pete is an assistant coach with the 12U (peewee) 2 team.

“I started coaching because I have a genuine love for the game and its development,” said the USA Hockey Level-1 coach. “The game of hockey has given so much to me and I have learned some of my most valuable life lessons from my coaches in the past. I consider it a privilege to hold the same position and opportunity to impact the lives of youth using hockey as an instrument as my coaches did for me. There is nothing more satisfying than passing along the skills and knowledge of the game to the next generation.”

Outside the rink, Coach Pete is a management consultant for clients in the healthcare and pharmaceuticals industry. He’s also a Disney fanatic, having worked as an internal engineering consultant at Disney World in Orlando for 10 months during school. An avid traveler, he’s been to every continental US state and 15 countries. In addition to hockey, he also plays (beach and indoor) volleyball, soccer, golf, tennis, softball and whatever recreation sport he gets invited to join.

Coach Pete, who started as a defenseman but switched to left wing as a junior in college, lives, plays and coaches by three rules: Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard – Be the hardest worker in the locker room/classroom/office; Focus on the things you can control like your preparation, effort and attitude; Leaders never stop learning because life/the game never stops changing.

For Coach Pete, this philosophy came to life during a recent game when his players battled back from a three-goal deficit in the third period to win the game. 

“With a minute and a half to play we took the lead and I called a timeout to make sure we translated the offensive excitement into defensive energy,” Coach Pete said. “After relentless offense by the opponent and steady defense by the Wildkits, we came away with the win. I was so proud because the team did not lose faith, they stayed positive and they continued to work hard regardless of the deficit.”

It’s his proudest coaching moment thus far and a game he won’t soon forget.

He also encourages parents to never forget that this time is precious and short. Hockey is unlike any other sport, he says, with high demands on players and parents. The season is long, the games are far away, and there is so much time committed to practices and games every week.

“Many of my favorite memories as a youth player are actually off of the ice, whether they be having post game dinner with the team, running wild through hotels on tournament weekends or having deep conversations with my dad to and from the rink,” he said. “As a parent, you should cherish this time, the friendships and the opportunities to connect because the natural connection that hockey brings to players and parents alike will be gone in a flash. Don’t believe me? Ask my parents!”

TopShare this

 
 
Recognizing Our Seniors; Getting Ready for Spring
by posted 01/11/2018


Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris

Director’s Message: Recognizing our Seniors; Getting Ready for Spring

On Saturday, Jan. 27, a special group of seniors will take the ice as Evanston Wildkits for the last time. Nearly every one of them has grown up playing hockey in our program – I've had the pleasure of coaching many of them when they first started out with Evanston Hockey, as well as now – and I am proud of what they have accomplished as individuals and as a group. Beyond the wins and losses, the lessons that they have learned and the friendships that they have made will last a lifetime.

Senior Night is Saturday, Jan. 27, and will honor the graduating seniors from the Evanston Hockey girls high school and boys high school teams. The girls play against New Trier Silver at 7:30 p.m. and the boys play against Lake Forest at 9:10 p.m. There will be a special ceremony between the games recognizing the graduating seniors. I hope you will consider coming to those games and giving these players a standing ovation as we recognize them. 

Senior Night is also the culmination of Hockey Days in Evanston (Jan. 26-27) where our teams will be playing back-to-back games starting Friday night at 5 p.m. and all day Saturday starting at 7 a.m. I hope to see all of our families there.

But there’s still much more hockey to be had! The regular travel and house seasons wrap up in March and then the spring hockey season will begin. As I mentioned in my last message, I’m excited about the new practice format for spring with dedicated skills weeks for power skating, shooting, stickhandling/scoring and defensive play. Coupled with tournament and league games, this new practice format will be sure to sharpen your players’ skills and get him or her to the next level of play. Be on the lookout for signups soon. I encourage all of our players to participate.

TopShare this

 
 
President's Message: Brad Dunlap
by posted 01/10/2018


Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap

Hockey Weather is Finally Here

Hockey weather has definitely arrived! And if any of you have backyard rinks, I am sure you have enjoyed the frosty temperatures that have kept your home ice solid. Although playoffs are right around the corner, we still have plenty of hockey to play. We are very excited for our Hockey Days in Evanston event, Jan. 26-27, where all of our house, travel and high school teams will be in action. This is capped off by our boys and girls High School Senior Night games and we encourage all in our Evanston Hockey community to come out in full force to support these players, many whom have spent over a decade growing up on the ice at Robert Crown. It really is incredible for these families and the long-time coaches to remember days not so long ago when these young men and women were just learning to skate as beginner mites! If you have any time to volunteer to help with this fun event, please sign up here.

As one season winds down, another one begins. We would encourage all of our players to sign up for our spring program. We are excited to change the format a bit this year where we will have skill specific practice weeks featuring specialized coaches. Goalie coaches will also be present to work on developing the skills of our netminders. Our Hockey Director Del Morris has done a great job in working with the coaching staff for the upcoming spring season, and I am confident that your players will grow their skills and also have fun at the same time.

Enjoy the rest of the season, and Go Kits!!

TopShare this

 
 
Player Feature: Kiefer Gilbertson
by posted 01/09/2018


Evanston Hockey Player Kiefer Gilbertson with Sister Skylar

J’aime Beaucoup le Hockey!

Growing up in the Chicago area and attending Lycée Français de Chicago, Kiefer Gilbertson was about four years old when he decided to play hockey.
 
With the help of his father, a lifelong hockey player, Kiefer was able to improve on his stick handling and passing. With his Mom’s help, he was able to attend learn-to-skate lessons and practices.
 
Kiefer is currently in his second year with the Wildkits (10U – Squirt Team 2). His favorite position is defense but loves playing with his friends in the sport they enjoy together.
 
His younger sister Skylar also shares the love of hockey and the two often practice in their basement training area. Skylar is in her first year as a member of the Evanston Jr Wildkits house mite program.
 
A memory that Gilbertson recalls is his first goal. He was playing a game at the United Center and felt relieved but “definitely really good.”
 
Gilbertson said he loves to represent the Wildkits and can always be seen wearing his blue and orange wool hat. 
 
“I love my team. Everyone is a friend, and we learn so much from Coach Christian, Coach Greg and Coach Clark”, said Kiefer.
 
Outside the rink, Gilbertson likes to build Legos, practice his piano, and help his parents cook dinner.

If your player would like to be included in an upcoming issue of Evanston Hockey News, please fill out this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfrPkW5LC0emcWwQ-x-xYpNXDtpuf5JayznrAJv00Fyp_sojw/viewform

TopShare this

 
 
Parent Resource: Value of Mistakes
by posted 01/08/2018


Parent Resource: Value of Mistakes

Parent Resource: Value of Mistakes

Sports performance from beginners to Olympic athletes is a process of learning and development and when the focus is on short-term goals of winning a game, progress and growth can get short-changed. In fact, the best way to learn and master a skill or solve a problem is to first learn what does not work. Every major scientific discovery and technological advance has come after hours in laboratories and many failed experiments.

Yet, we get frustrated as parent spectators when there is a mistake on the ice. As parents, it is important to approach the world of youth sports as a huge laboratory to build motor skills, resilience and teamwork. In all labs and start up businesses, most of the early ideas fail and the scientists and developers who succeed are committed to trying in innovative ways to improving their process. In fact, the best learning happens outside one’s comfort zone when things feel just a little bit out of control. Failure and mistakes are a natural part of learning and the only way people develop grit and resilience is through falling down and trying again.

There are two unhelpful responses to mistakes that all parents have at times: 1) reassuring and rationalizing and 2) instructing and lecturing. In the first, we try and protect our children from adversity because it is hard for us to see them disappointed. We jump in quickly to reassure them instead of tolerating their feelings. This results in a lost opportunity for kids to learn how to tolerate disappointment and then recommit themselves to greater effort.

In the second scenario, we want to teach them or help them “learn” how not to fail the next time by giving them instruction and feedback—often in the dreaded car ride home. This robs the athlete of the opportunity to develop their own process of learning and puts too much pressure on the outcome instead of the learning process in which they can creatively cultivate their own solutions.

Finally, it is important to remember and deconstruct the phrase “that which does not kill you makes you stronger.” Tremendous growth occurs after times of challenge and adversity: it brings out grit, commitment and self-reliance. It is hard to watch our kids struggle, but in sports and in life, the ability to allow for mistakes is a necessary part of growth.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnFLWi3l08U

Article: http://devzone.positivecoach.org/resource/article/how-help-when-your-child-fails-clutch

TopShare this

 
 
Evanston Hockey All-Stars Named
by posted 12/13/2017


Evanston Hockey All-Stars: Jonah Doppelt (JV), Karlo Papa (JV), Teddy Lambert (Varsity), Isaiah Ricketts (Varsity)

Evanston Hockey All-Stars Named

Four Evanston Hockey Wildkits have been named to the 2018 All-Star Varsity and JV games, which take place Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, at West Meadows Ice Arena, 3939 Winnetka Ave. in Rolling Meadows.

Jonah Doppelt and Karlo Papa will be playing in the JV game at 3:40 p.m. Playing in the Varsity game at 7:30 p.m. are Teddy Lambert and Isaiah Ricketts.

JV coach Zack Nauert said that players were selected “based on their leadership, teammates and on-ice play.” He added that coaches also factor in who will represent Evanston with pride, respect and high skill level.

One of those players, Papa, said, “It's an honor to represent my team in this game and it’ll be fun to play with some of the best players in the league.”

Another All-Star player, Lambert, said, “It really means a lot. The early mornings and late nights aren’t always easy, but seeing the hard work pay off makes it all worthwhile. Without the support and camaraderie of my coaches and teammates, I would never have developed into the player I am today. Evanston Hockey has been like a second family to me, and I’m excited to get the chance to represent my team and the program at the game.”

Come out to support your Evanston Hockey Wildkits, and be sure to congratulate our All-Stars!

Photos courtesy of Victory Views.

TopShare this

 
 
Director's Message: Staying Fit During the Holidays
by posted 12/09/2017


Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris

Director’s Message: Staying Fit During the Holidays

The holidays signal a two-week break from school so it’s the perfect time to keep in shape for hockey. This will ensure you stay conditioned and are ready to hit the ice at your best. Below are some ways to stay fit during the holidays.

In addition, even though it's just now officially becoming winter, we are already planning for spring. I’m excited that we’ll be launching a new practice format for spring with dedicated skills weeks for power skating, shooting, stickhandling/scoring and defensive play. Coupled with tournament and league games, this new practice format will be sure to sharpen your players’ skills and get him or her to the next level of play. We will have more info and signups in January.

Tips to Stay Fit

Skate. During the upcoming winter break, Evanston Hockey has a modified practice schedule between Dec. 24-Jan. 3. Check the master calendar for exact days and times. As of Jan. 4, the regular practice schedule will resume. In addition, for those looking for more ice, I encourage you to sign up for the city of Evanston's hockey skills camp, which is run by Evanston Hockey coaches. These camps will be 12/26-12/29 and 1/2-1/5. Sign up for both weeks or for specific day(s) each week by creating an account with the city at cityofevanston.org/register, calling Robert Crown at 847-448-8258 or swinging by the rink.

Off-ice Exercise. Be sure to get in 100 reps each of squats, push-ups, sit-ups and jumping jacks on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to help stay conditioned.

Stick Handle. Take 10-15 minutes each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday to stick handle, which will show huge results on the ice.

Rest. Use Sunday to rest up and relax.

I’ve said it before, but I can’t stress it enough — come to practice at your best and your best will only get better. On behalf of myself and the entire Evanston Hockey coaching staff, I wish you and your families a happy and healthy holiday season.

TopShare this

 
 
Hockey Days Are Here Again: Jan. 26-27
by posted 12/08/2017


Hockey Days in Evanston takes place Jan. 26-27, 2018 at Robert Crown

Hockey Days Are Here Again: Jan. 26-27, 2018

Our third annual Hockey Days in Evanston event takes place Friday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. At this free event, more than 400 Evanston Hockey players — from the youngest 8U (mite) players to the Evanston Hockey Varsity team — take the ice to play back-to-back games.

To make this event a success, we are looking for sponsors for the event along with volunteers to help leading up to the event and on the days of the event.

Sponsorship Opportunities
If you own a business or know a business owner who is looking to support a great youth organization, please consider making a donation for Hockey Days in Evanston. With a tax-deductible sponsorship contribution of $250, Evanston Hockey will provide several acknowledgements at the Hockey Days in Evanston community event.

Volunteer Opportunities
We need volunteers for everything from set up, to staffing tables and games, to clean up. We're asking people to sign up for at least one, one-hour shift. Please sign up here.

To learn more or to sponsor the event, contact Marina Marich, board member, Evanston Youth Hockey Association, at 847-868-2049,   or  .

TopShare this

 
 
President's Message: Brad Dunlap
by posted 12/07/2017


Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap

President’s Message

Hard to believe but we have reached the half-way point of the season. We have had a successful first half of the season with lots of fun both on and off the ice for our players and families alike. From the seniors in high school to the youngest 8U (mite) players, we have loved seeing the effort and enthusiasm put forward by our Wildkit players.

We are looking forward to Hockey Days in Evanston – Days (plural) as we have games and events on Friday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 27. Look for further communication regarding this fun and community building event.

Finally, we are excited as the reality of a new Robert Crown Center becomes closer, and we can almost see our teams taking the ice on this fantastic new two-sheet facility. You can learn more about the project here.

As always, thank you to all of our outstanding volunteers that help make our program run. Most importantly, thank you to all of you for the support of your players and the Evanston Hockey community. Happy and safe holidays to all!  

TopShare this

 
 
Parent Resource: Moral Courage
by posted 12/05/2017


Parent Resource: Moral Courage

Parent Resource: Moral Courage

As 2017 draws to a close, it seems pertinent to address the topic of moral courage for this month’s Positive Coaching Alliance topic. Moral courage is standing up publicly for what you believe is right even when your friends and teammates don’t. Being a member of a team and observing good and not so good teamwork is an important way to practice this skill. Aristotle argued that a person becomes good not by studying morality but through practicing it; as parents and coaches, we need to help our players tackle these issues in their own world to build moral character.

Social membership in a group is important to all kids-but particularly in later childhood and early adolescence. Speaking out against the behavior of the group or a perceived leader of the group takes a great deal of courage because it risks loss of belonging. Unfortunately, most bullying takes place when adults are not around, so it is important to empower our players to step in as a team member and give them tools to practice this skill. This means we need to create opportunities to discuss how to stand up for a teammate, or a friend or anyone in our community who has less power in any given moment.

Playing a sport gives kids and adolescents a taste of confidence and increased social power because of their performance. They can use this power to exclude others or to do tremendous good. Examples of this include: mentoring younger players, participating in community service, and practicing leadership skills by stepping in and questioning behavior that is not reflective of community and teamwork. During the break, try and have a conversation with your child about a scenario where one teammate is provoking or putting down another: ask your child how they might address this situation if an adult is not present. Talk to them about the risks of stepping in as well as the risks of standing by and help them reason through possibilities.

Article: http://d3kv8ayplk3lle.cloudfront.net/sites/uploads/files/PCA_PreventingBullying_0.pdf

Video: http://devzone.positivecoach.org/resource/video/doc-rivers-character-and-culture

TopShare this

 
 
Board Q&A: Joe Maguire
by posted 12/03/2017


Board Member and Co-Treasurer Joe Maguire

Board Q&A: Joe Maguire

Evanston Hockey News sat down recently with board member and co-treasurer Joe Maguire to learn more about his experience with the club. Joe has been on the board since 2017 and serves as the co-treasurer along with Steve Nelson. Joe’s daughter, Jennifer, plays on the Girls HS team.

Evanston Hockey board members serve three-year terms, which can be renewed once.

Why did you join the Evanston Hockey board? I have really been impressed over the years with Evanston Hockey. I felt I could contribute to the program by volunteering to be on the board. It is my opportunity to help out an organization that has had a tremendously positive impact on my daughter.

Over the years, how has the Evanston Hockey program changed? We have been part of Evanston Hockey over the last five seasons. Overall, the quality of the coaching continues to impress me, and it keeps getting better. With a daughter in the program, the best improvement has been the development of the girl’s teams. Communication, commitment to a common ideal and a spirit of community are all areas that continue to improve.

What do you like best about being associated with the Evanston Hockey program? My favorite thing about Evanston Hockey is that the focus is on developing kids. The focus on sportsmanship, teamwork and skill improvement rather than an intense push to win at all cost makes me proud to be a part of Evanston Hockey.

Name one favorite moment of watching your child play. One of my favorite moments came during the first 14U Girls game of all time. Playing against the St. Jude Knights, my daughter scored the first ever goal for the girls team. She then scored the second. Talk about a proud papa.

TopShare this

 
 
Director's Message: It's Game Time
by posted 11/16/2017


Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris

Director's Message: It’s Game Time

The regular season is underway and it's promising to be an action-packed one for all of our teams. Our varsity and JV teams qualified for the Champions Division of the IHSHL North Central Division. Varsity is one of 10 teams in the league’s top division while JV is one of 11. Both teams are also playing in the annual Loyola High School Thanksgiving tournament. The varsity team returns to Robert Crown on Nov. 29 at 8 p.m. versus Highland Park. JV returns to home ice on Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. versus the Kings. Come out to watch (it’s free) and support our team.

Six of our travel teams will also be taking the ice during the Wishbone Invitational Thanksgiving tournament next week. I'd like to wish them all luck as they use this time to improve their game and continue team bonding. Our 10U (squirt), 12U (peewee) and 14U (bantam) travel teams are part of the Northern Illinois Hockey League, and this year we are proud to have teams represented at every level from bronze through gold A.

I also want to highlight our girls teams. Evanston is proud to have a girls HS team and also a girls 14U team, which this year combined with Wilmette. I want to encourage our families to try to catch a game during the season at some of the nearby rinks and definitely during Hockey Days in Evanston (Jan. 26-27) when the girls teams will play at Robert Crown. Between the 8U (mite) house teams and Jr. Wildkits 8U (mite) travel teams alone, we have a rising class of more than 15 girls not to mention other girls in the program at the 10U (squirt) and 12U (peewee) levels. They are — and will continue to be — a formidable force.

On the house side, our teams have also been working hard and starting their games as part of the North Shore Hockey League. House 8U (mites) have in-house games and practices while 10U (squirts), 12U (peewees) and 14U (bantams) compete against other North Shore programs with games at Robert Crown and other local rinks.

Not to be left out, our alumni class of hockey players is planning a special alumni game on Nov. 24. If you are in town and want to watch our past players relive their glory days, I encourage you to attend this game. It’s sure to be a fun time and proceeds benefit the new Robert Crown Center. More details on the alumni page on EvanstonHockey.com.
 
Our community spirit is what makes our program unique. I encourage all of our teams to make time to watch other Evanston Hockey teams play. Game schedules can be found on the master calendar on the website and on each team's page.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

TopShare this

 
 
Evanston Hockey Co-Treasurers Named
by posted 11/14/2017


Evanston Hockey Co-Treasurers Joe Maguire and Steve Nelson

Evanston Hockey Co-Treasurers Named

Evanston Hockey nominated Joe Maguire and Steve Nelson as co-treasurers of the board. Joe, an accountant, will be responsible for the budget and bookkeeping while Steve, who served as treasurer of the Jr Wildkits, will be responsible for the day-to-day tasks. The Board of Directors is an all-volunteer board that comprises parents who serve a three-year term. Each term can be renewed once.

Joe and Steve can both be reached at .

TopShare this

 
 
FUNraiser Results: WOW
by posted 11/12/2017


Parent FUNraiser Supports Player Financial Aid

Parent FUNraiser Results: WOW!

Our parent FUNraiser in early November and online auction raised $3,515 for player financial aid. Wow!

Thanks to everyone who joined us or bid on an item. And an enormous thanks to our parent volunteers Andy and Tessa Bediz for organizing this year’s event.

Way to go Wildkits!

TopShare this

 
 
Coach Feature: Deon Kidd
by posted 11/11/2017


Evanston Hockey Coach Deon Kidd

Deon Kidd: Hockey Journey from Germany to the US

When Deon Kidd was playing professional hockey in Germany for the Hannover Scorpions, he assisted with a hockey beginners program for kids aged 4-6. Since then, he’s been hooked on coaching.

Today, Coach Deon leads the 12U (peewee) 3 travel team as a first-year coach for Evanston Hockey. He is also the lead coach for Evanston Hockey's Buzzer Hockey, which takes place on Sunday mornings.

“I want to share my hockey experience as a player from mini mite to professional hockey with children and parents that love hockey as much as I do,” Coach Deon said.

He started playing hockey at four years old after his mom took him to a game in his hometown of Bremerhaven, Germany. Coach Deon played hockey for 20 years through the professional level in the DEL2 (Germany) as a forward; played for REV Bremerhaven, Iserlohn U16, Hannover Indians U18, Weser Stars (Germany 4), Arapahoe Warriors (MM) AA, Boulder JR. Bison (WSHL), Williston State College (NJCAA), Heilbronner Falken (DEL2), Hannover Indians and Hannover Scorpions (Germany3).

An accomplished inline hockey player — he was named top German scorer in 2007 — Coach Deon’s favorite ice hockey memory is an undefeated season that moved his team from the German state league into a more competitive German national junior league in 2009/10.

Off the ice, he is a personal trainer and was also named a German champion in jet ski racing back in the day.

He encourages parents to never give up on their kids and emphasizes with players that they should be respectful, work hard, play fair and have fun.

TopShare this

 
 
Player Feature: Jennifer Maguire
by posted 11/10/2017


Evanston Hockey Player Jennifer Maguire

Player Feature: Switching Sports in the Rink -- Figure Skating to Ice Hockey

Evanston native Jennifer Maguire first started on the ice rink as a figure skater for five years. One day during her practice, hockey players come onto the rink and when she saw how intense the game got and the speed that was involved, Maguire knew she wanted to become a hockey player.

Maguire has now played hockey for seven years and loves her sport. She has skated with the Skokie Flyers, but she is now an Evanston Wildkit.

For Maguire, the best part about being a Wildkit is being able to surround herself with the community, friends and coaches.

“The people are fun and the coaches invest in you and do what is best for the team,” Maguire said.

Having played center position, Maguire’s favorite position is left wing because “you are in control of that part of the ice with a few others.”

Out of all the memories Maguire has had at Evanston Hockey, the one that stands out is being the first player to score the first two goals of the girls 14U team. She recalls the excitement and the adrenaline of the first game.

“My teammates were happy for me that I scored, they were happy because we were winning and it appeared our team was going to win its first game of the season – and the crowd was going nuts,” Maguire said.

Her advice for hockey players is to practice hard and never give up because practicing hard pays off in the game.

Being a triplet, all sisters have gone different directions in regards to sports. Maguire plays hockey, her sister Nancy plays soccer and her sister Meghan plays softball.

Her favorite team is the Blackhawks, but when the Edmonton Oilers are on, she cheers for her favorite and fellow center hockey player, Conner McDavid.

If your player would like to be included in an upcoming issue of Evanston Hockey News, please fill out this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfrPkW5LC0emcWwQ-x-xYpNXDtpuf5JayznrAJv00Fyp_sojw/viewform

TopShare this

 
 
Wildkit Named Player of the Month
by posted 10/30/2017


Jens Bratt was honored as the Chicago Blackhawks/BMO Harris Player of the Month during the Chicago Blackhawks game

Wildkit Named Blackhawks/BMO Harris Player of the Month

Congratulations to 14U (bantam) player Jens Bratt on being selected as the Chicago Blackhawks/BMO Harris Player of the Month. Honorees are selected based on several criteria including: on-ice accomplishments, off-ice community involvement and their passion for the game.

Jens was presented with a plaque and participated in a special presentation during the Chicago Blackhawks game on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017.

Way to represent Evanston!

Want to nominate a deserving player, coach or volunteer? Click HERE for complete details.

TopShare this

 
 
Evanston Hockey Awarded NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone Grant
by posted 10/19/2017


Evanston Hockey Awarded NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone Grant

Evanston Hockey Awarded NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone Grant

Evanston Hockey has once again been named an NHL Hockey is for Everyone grant recipient. Hockey is for Everyone grants support programs that provide opportunities for youth participants in underserved or marginalized communities, helping them develop important life skills that transcend the game.

"Hockey is a powerful force that helps young people build character, foster positive values and develop important life skills,” said Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner. “As a Hockey is for Everyone program, Evanston Youth Hockey Association provides a supportive and inclusive environment where boys and girls can make friends, get active and become a great teammate on and off the ice."

Evanston Hockey has been a leader in the area of diversity since the 1960s and it is an honor for the National Hockey League to recognize our program. We are proud to receive this distinction and we take seriously our mission to provide boys and girls in Evanston and neighboring communities the opportunity to learn to play hockey in a diverse program that is rooted in skills development, sportsmanship, outstanding coaching, leadership skills, strong character development and camaraderie.
 
As a Hockey is for Everyone partner, Evanston Hockey receives a 15% off promotional discount on Shop.NHL.com. You can take advantage of the discount by using code HIFE9 (one-time use, valid through December 1).

TopShare this

 
 
Board Q&A: Steve Nelson
by posted 10/10/2017


Evanston Hockey Board Member and Co-Treasurer Steve Nelson

Board Q&A: Steve Nelson

Evanston Hockey News sat down recently with board member and co-treasurer Steve Nelson to learn more about his experience with the club. Steve has been on the board since 2017 and serves as the co-treasurer along with Joe Maguire. Steve's son, Greg, plays on the 10U (squirt) 2 travel team.

Evanston Hockey board members serve three-year terms, which can be renewed once.

Why did you join the Evanston Hockey board?

I joined the Evanston Hockey board as an opportunity to contribute to the organization which relies on volunteers to keep the program running smoothly and effectively and gives our players a fun and competitive ice hockey experience.

Over the years, how has the Evanston Hockey program changed?

The Evanston Hockey program is lucky to have families and coaches who are clearly committed to continual improvement.

What do you like best about being associated with the Evanston Hockey program?

I respect the overall coaching philosophy of the four pillars to developing players and people. I enjoy the families and being a part of this great community.

Name one favorite moment of watching your child play.

My son Greg is a first year 10U (squirt) player and it is great to see his passion for the sport continue to increase. I love hearing his perspective on different little moments during each game on the car rides home.

TopShare this

 
 
Parent Resource: Second Goal Parent
by posted 10/09/2017


Parent Resource: Second Goal Parent

Parent Resource: Second Goal Parent

As part of Evanston Hockey's partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), each month we'll feature a different theme to help parents manage the pressures of youth sports culture, communicating with your child’s coach or long term player development. This information will be compiled and saved on a dedicated Positive Coaching Alliance page on EvanstonHockey.com and additional resources are available at www.PCADEVZONE.org.

The second monthly topic is Second Goal Parent. The second goal parent is aware of both the immediate goals of having a successful season and the long term goals of enabling our youth athletes to learn the many life lessons sports can offer. These are the “teachable moments” that build resilience and character. This involves parents changing their mindset from winning at all costs in this season to looking toward a future path for their children into adulthood. This includes learning teamwork, how to “fail” or make mistakes, and the drive to always improve. These skills translate into better students, community members and employees.
  
An interesting goal for this holiday season — in addition to enjoying some hockey games during the Wishbone tournament, focus on the lessons that Thanksgiving teaches us. 

1.  Thank our coaches and hockey director who dedicate many hours of their time to our children and to their development as players and people. Have your players thank them too.

2. Sit next to a parent at the next game that you do not know well. Ask them questions about their holiday and their family traditions. This is a community that goes beyond the rink. Model that for our players — ask them to do the same with a player that they do not know well.

Additional resources:

Video: http://devzone.positivecoach.org/resource/video/joe-ehrmann-what-sports-parents-need-know

Article: https://www.positivecoach.org/the-pca-blog/all-i-really-needed-to-know-about-management-i-learned-in-sports

TopShare this

 
 
Parent Resource: Honor the Game
by posted 10/05/2017


Positive Coaching Alliance Urges You to Know Your ROOTS

Parent Resource: Honor the Game

As part of Evanston Hockey's partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA), each month we'll feature a different theme to help parents manage the pressures of youth sports culture, communicating with your child’s coach or long term player development. This information will be compiled and saved on a dedicated Positive Coaching Alliance page on EvanstonHockey.com and additional resources are available at www.PCADEVZONE.org.

The first monthly topic, Honor the Game, is a major principle of PCA. Honoring the principles of sport and those who came before you means practicing humility, understanding your role as part of a team and practicing your craft with a code of ethics. The premise of the Honor the Game slogan is simple, and we encourage you to share it with your players. It is a good reminder for parents and coaches as spectators and participants in our hockey community.

Honor the Game is summed up by the acronym ROOTS:

RULES: Rules keep the game fair. Play by the rules even when you think you won’t get caught if you break them.
OPPONENTS: Without opponents, we could have no game. A good opponent pushes us to do our best, so we should be grateful for our opponents.
OFFICIALS: Officials have a very hard job, keeping the game safe and fair for both teams. Officials are not perfect and sometimes they will make calls not in our favor but they deserve our respect.
TEAMMATES: Later in life you will be often be part of a team and it is important to learn how to work together. When you are on a team, your words and actions-before, during and after practices and games-reflect on you as well as your teammates and coaches. Treat them as you would want them to treat you.
SELF: Honor the game no matter what the other team or its fans do. We need to set our own internal standards and we live up to them no matter what.

Here are some additional resources related to Honoring the Game:

Video: Honor the Game Whether You Win or Lose http://devzone.positivecoach.org/resource/video/honor-game-whether-you-win-or-lose

Article:  How Can We Honor the Game When the Opponent Does Not  http://d3kv8ayplk3lle.cloudfront.net/sites/uploads/files/AskPCA_HTG_whenOpponentDoesNot.pdf

TopShare this

 
 
Director's Message: Player Development is Key
by posted 09/23/2017


Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris

Player Development is Key

We’re always looking for ways to provide more development opportunities for our players. I’m especially excited about some elements we’ve added this season.

A major program we’ve added this year has as much to do with a player’s development off the ice as it does on the ice. Our partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance is the ideal complement to the four pillars I stress with our players and coaches: respect, sportsmanship, honesty and responsibility. This program is also aligned with our mission to give boys and girls the chance to learn to play hockey in a diverse program that is rooted in skills development, sportsmanship, outstanding coaching, leadership skills, strong character development and camaraderie.

Our coaches recently completed a coaching workshop led by a PCA trainer, and the enthusiastic feedback I received during and after the workshop was very encouraging. Coaches will have access to special coach-focused resources through Positive Coaching Alliance throughout the season. I also encourage all of our families to check out the monthly tips we’ll be highlighting on our website and to also take advantage of the resources that are available on the PCA website at www.PCADEVZONE.org. This is a great addition to our commitment to creating not just great hockey players but great people.

On the ice, we’ve signed a deal with Good as Gould goalie instruction to provide personalized and elite goalie coaching. Having this additional level of goalie instruction in addition to our in-house goalie coach, Fabrice Chavannes, continues to help our players develop.

Finally, I want to bring your attention an upcoming community-building event. I encourage all of our families who are available to attend the parent FUNraiser on Nov. 4. These kinds of events help build a sense of community among our families. Purchase tickets here for the event.

Go Wildkits!

TopShare this

 
 
Coach Feature: Bob Rose
by posted 09/23/2017


Coach Bob Rose (right) stands with Tim Turk

Bob Rose: Hooked on Hockey for Life

When Bob Rose was a small child growing up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, his father purchased season tickets for the Chicago Blackhawks – back in the Original Six days. After countless games at the old Chicago Stadium full of family memories, he became hooked on hockey for life.

He’s been playing for more than 50 years and started coaching in 1994 when his son started showing an interest in hockey. Today, he is a shooting coach, and the Chicago affiliate of the Tim Turk Hockey shooting and scoring program. He works with players of all ages – from 8U to adult players – and specifically works with Evanston Hockey players during weekly skills sessions.

“I teach Turk’s approach to shooting the puck,” Coach Bob said. “Evanston players are getting the same information and instruction as NHL players.”

Coach Bob also studies the constant evolution of the PGA Tour golf swing and the MLB baseball swing because they are “striking sports.” He says that the hockey shot, like the Tour golf swing and MLB hitting motion, has become much more powerful and efficient over the years.

“I look for movement patterns in other ‘time and space’ sports that can be successfully applied in hockey,” Coach Bob said. “I’m always trying to discover innovative ways to help my players.”

Coach Bob believes that observation, communication and adjustments made while coaching help players become successful, helping them to understand and directly experience the lesson or point trying to be taught. As a coach, his best days are when a player’s shot improves and their enthusiasm grows for the game.

He said: “Seeing a player’s eyes literally light up with joy over their new-found skill is about as good as it gets as a teacher of hockey.”

Coach Bob’s Tips to Proper Stick Flex

Be diligent in having the proper stick flex for your child. A flex rating means the force needed to flex the shaft 1 inch. For example, a 60 flex stick requires 60 lbs. of force to flex the shaft 1 inch. If a player cannot flex his or her stick shaft at least 1 inch, the stick is too stiff for them.

You should follow this general rule:

  • Players should be using a stick with a flex rating that is equal to half their body weight.
  • It is also important to know that when you cut a stick to make it shorter, you INCREASE the shaft flex by doing so. Many NHL players use sticks with shaft flexes that are far less than half their body weight.

 

TopShare this

 
 
President's Update: Season in Full Swing
by posted 09/23/2017


Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap

President's Update: Season in Full Swing

It’s great to see the hockey season in full swing again and Robert Crown bustling with our hockey families. The high school season is off to a great start with our boys varsity team going undefeated in the seeding round, capped off by a 5-1 win over New Trier in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Crown. Our youth travel program is also busy with their first tournaments as well as NIHL seeding games taking place across Chicagoland. And the house program has practices under way, with league play starting soon. It is great to see the support of the Evanston Hockey community as we have seen so many players and families coming to watch each other's games.

Off the ice has been just as busy. We had a fantastic Parent workshop with Positive Coaching Alliance recently as part of our new partnership with this organization. This workshop complements the Coaching and Board of Directors workshops that help to support and reinforce the mission of Evanston Hockey. The new mentorship program that pairs up 14U (Bantam) and High School players with some of our younger teams is taking shape with the kick-off meeting recently. The new Robert Crown Community Center with two full sheets of ice continues to gain momentum and move closer to reality with the city council voting unanimously recently to move forward with the project. Certainly an exciting time to be part of Evanston Hockey!

Thank you to all of our volunteers who continue to give their time to make Evanston Hockey the best it can be, and thank you to all of our families for supporting the program. Go Kits! We'll see you at the rink!

TopShare this

 
 
Director's Message: Better Skating Leads to Dominant Playing
by posted 08/09/2017


Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris

Better Skating Leads to Dominant Playing

As hockey becomes a faster and faster sport, a player’s ability to become a more powerful, precise and fast skater will work to his or her advantage. Learning how to skate, however, does not end with 8U (mite) hockey. In fact, most NHL players routinely work on their skating and have coaches who work specifically on improving skating skills. The bottom line: Becoming a better skater will make you a more dominant hockey player.

That’s why I’m excited that we’ve expanded our coaching lineup this season to include a dedicated power skating coach who will work consistently with our teams throughout the season. Christian Grunnah has a strong background of power skating fundamentals and has applied these techniques in his coaching and instructing. He played in Tier I and Tier II travel hockey programs throughout his youth, and finished his amateur hockey career at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minnesota — a hockey powerhouse. He has trained with NHL-level players both on and off the ice and shares his experiences and knowledge with hockey players of all ages and abilities. Learn more about Christian here.

I’m looking forward to working with Christian and all of our coaches to help players take their skills to the next level.

TopShare this

 
 
Coach Feature: Christian Grunnah
by posted 08/09/2017


Evanston Hockey Coach Christian Grunnah

Starting with Speed and Never Slowing Down

As a child, Christian Grunnah learned how to skate from his father, a national champion speed skater. And he’s never slowed down.

Grunnah is a USA Hockey level 4 certified full-time coach, power skating and skills instructor. He’s returning to the Wildkits after living overseas for a few years.

“I started coaching because I have a passion for improving the lives of children and adults alike through developing athletic achievement, specifically in the game of hockey,” said Grunnah. “I enjoy having the chance to impart life lessons and confidence to individuals through the varied experiences of sport.”

Grunnah has been coaching individual athletes for 12 years and teams for six years at all levels from 8U (Mites) through professional hockey players. He previously coached with Evanston Hockey between 2012-15, and has been named the head coach of 10U (Squirt) Team 2 and 12U (PeeWee) Team 2 and a co-head coach of the JV team for the 2017-18 season. Grunnah will also assume a new coaching role for Evanston Hockey of dedicated power skating coach for all teams and will lead skills sessions throughout the season.

Born in Chicago, Grunnah lived and played hockey in many different places throughout his youth, including New York, Texas, Colorado and North Carolina. He finished playing after graduating from Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Minnesota because of a back injury sustained during his senior year. His favorite memories remain playing in tournaments across the country and Canada, as well as at the National Championships.

In addition to playing and coaching hockey, Grunnah studied acting in college and graduate school. He also studied in Russia for a time and incorporates many of the techniques he learned there for team building, flexibility and coordination into his coaching. 

“My coaching philosophy is developing individual confidence, athletic competence and personal responsibility combined with a mindset for continual growth, which I believe is necessary before one can be a great team player,” he said. “Cooperation and collaboration with, as well as genuine care for, teammates creates an environment for group success.”

As a coach, Grunnah’s proudest moment is seeing young players break through to new successes — first goal, shutout, mastering a skill — and developing genuine camaraderie with teammates each season.

For parents, he asks that they trust and respect the process of sport.

“This not only includes, but requires, failure,” Grunnah said. “Loss is temporary and only defines a person if they are not able to grow from it. Allow yourself and your child to experience all the ups and downs of playing hockey with grace, dignity and a supportive heart. It is, after all, just a game - let them play.”

TopShare this

 
 
Board Q&A: Gary DeStefano
by posted 08/05/2017


Evanston Hockey Board Member Gary DeStefano

Board Q&A: Gary DeStefano

Evanston Hockey News sat down recently with board member Gary DeStefano to learn more about his experience with the club. Gary has been on the board since 2017 and serves as the liaison with the house program. His sons, Evan and Owen, play high school hockey.

Evanston Hockey board members serve three-year terms, which can be renewed once.

Why did you join the Evanston Hockey board?

As a life-long Evanston Wildkit, having grown up playing hockey first at the outdoor rink at Northwestern then at Robert Crown, I’ve had numerous life lessons through hockey playing from a Mite through High School and I want to give back.

Over the years, how has the Evanston Hockey program changed?

I’m glad to see the Evanston program back to where it once was. We have good numbers and need to do everything in our power to keep the numbers growing. We’ve always had good representation of our community. We as board members need to do everything in our power to continue to make Evanston Hockey accessible to as many as we can.

What do you like best about being associated with the Evanston Hockey program?

Even though we are a relatively small program, Evanston Hockey typically is competitive with an emphasis on sportsmanship and camaraderie developed in a team atmosphere with great coaches.

Name one favorite moment of watching your children play.

One of my most proud moments recently is how our Bantam house league team played this past season in the final game for first place against Winnetka. We were short players with only seven players against a Winnetka team with three full lines and four coaches on the bench. One of our players got hurt in the first period so we skated the whole game with only one sub on the bench. We eventually lost the final, 1 to 0 with Winnetka scoring with only three minutes left in the game. Our Bantam team played their hearts out and represented Evanston with the highest level of sportsmanship and compete level. Needless to say, the players played the entire game and left everything on the ice. It was one of my proudest moments as their coach and provided me a great send-off as a culmination as a coach over the past several seasons at the house league levels.

TopShare this

 
 
Board Q&A: Jenny Dillman
by posted 05/20/2017


Evanston Hockey Board Member Jenny Dillman

Board Q&A: Jenny Dillman

Evanston Hockey News sat down recently with board member Jenny Dillman to learn more about her experience with the club. Jenny has been on the board since 2017 and serves as the chairperson of the Rules and Ethics committee. Her son, Charlie, plays 10U (Squirt) travel, and her daughters are among the most dedicated Wildkits fans.

Evanston Hockey board members serve three-year terms, which can be renewed once.

Why did you join the Evanston Hockey board? 
Joining the Evanston Hockey Board is an opportunity for me to contribute to the Evanston community in a meaningful way. As a prosecutor, public service is of great importance to me. As the Rules and Ethics Chairperson, I have the opportunity to use my experience upholding the laws of the State of Illinois, and holding others accountable to those laws, on a smaller scale. The Evanston Hockey Player Code of Conduct and Zero Tolerance policies, which govern the rules and ethics of the Evanston Hockey program, promote safety, respect, integrity and sportsmanship. It is an honor to advocate for these principles while participating in an organization my son loves. 

Over the years, how has the Evanston Hockey program changed?
Over the last year there has been an improved level of organization at all levels of Evanston Hockey. Communication, marketing and special events, like the 50th year anniversary, have created a hockey program focused on families, diversity, individual player development and team camaraderie. With improved communication and a unified message, our program has reached the ears of so many families who have become part of the larger Evanston Hockey community. 

What do you like best about being associated with the Evanston Hockey program?
Robert Crown is the center of “our” Evanston. As a parent of three children who are not only involved in hockey or figure skating at Robert Crown, but also attend Washington Elementary School, involvement in the Evanston Hockey program and the Robert Crown Center is a neighborhood activity. Through Evanston Hockey, my family has met countless children and their parents who we now call our friends.

Name one favorite moment of watching your child play.
It seems like just yesterday I watched Charlie and 19 other Mighty Mites on the studio ice, skate in a horde towards the puck, falling all over each other, literally competing with their own teammates for a chance to get the puck, shoot and score. They were inexperienced, slow and somehow managed to look tiny even on the small studio ice. Now, years later, Charlie seems enormous and fast even on the full sheet. I am impressed every time I see him spread out, play his position, pass the puck and get as excited about the “assist” as a “goal.”

TopShare this

 
 
Q&A with the Board: Tim Riley
by posted 04/14/2017


Evanston Hockey Board Member Tim Riley

Q&A with the Board: Tim Riley

Evanston Hockey News sat down recently with board member Tim Riley to learn more about his experience with the club. Tim has been on the board since 2017 and serves on the Rules and Ethics committee. His son, Brenner, plays 10U (Squirt) travel.

Evanston Hockey board members serve three-year terms, which can be renewed once.

Why did you join the Evanston Hockey board?

Having been involved with Evanston Youth for past few years as a coach, I’ve become increasingly more enthusiastic about the growth and direction of the program. With the campaign to build a new Robert Crown Community Center well under way and the record numbers of players, there has never been more exciting time for Evanston Hockey.  I wanted to join the Evanston Hockey Board to further contribute to this great trajectory both on and off the ice.

Over the years, how has the Evanston Hockey program changed?

The most obvious change is the number of players that are active in the program. I’m coaching the Spring 2107 Tournament teams and we have more than 50 players participating at the 10U (Squirt) level alone. Additionally, it’s been great to see major increases in the community involvement with both the program and the effort to build the new community center.  

What do you like best about being associated with the Evanston Hockey program?

By far and away my most favorite part of being associated the program is passing along my passion of the game to the next generation.   

Name one favorite moment of watching your child play.

One of the best moments I’ve had as a coach and hockey dad was during a home 8U (Mite) game that was taking place right before the Varsity senior night game. The house was packed and we were in a shootout with one chance left to tie the game. Coach Del chose my son Brenner to take the last attempt and the fans began to loudly chant his name. Unfortunately, the encouragement didn’t work out, but it was a great moment to see these 8U (Mite) kids having the time of their lives participating in a shootout with the stands full of cheering fans.

TopShare this

 
 
After 50 Years, It's All Still About Hockey
by posted 02/22/2017


Evanston Hockey Travel Team in the 1960s

After 50 Years, It’s All Still About Hockey

When Dean Mathewson had hockey practice, he’d walk around the corner from his house in southwest Evanston to his home rink in Larimer Park. Fashion accessories for his team included garter belts and awkward mouth protectors that made players look like young Hannibal Lecters in training. And if Mathewson wanted a curve on his wooden stick, he often had to make it himself, heating the blade up in boiling water and then bending it between the pipes of a radiator.

“That’s how everybody was doing it, when they couldn’t buy the pre-made ones,” he says.

It was the late 1960s, the Evanston Boys Hockey Association—co-founded by his father, Donald Mathewson, a flour salesman from Minnesota—was in its infancy, and the Robert Crown Center was still just a dream. The toe drag or spin-o-rama had yet to be invented. The butterfly? Not in Evanston in January. Goalies stacked the pads to stop pucks.

The game of hockey, its culture and technology have changed dramatically over the past half century, and the club that became the Evanston Youth Hockey Association has too. It now has so many house and travel teams that it’s outgrowing Robert Crown, which opened in 1975. This winter season, 341 kids are playing for Evanston house and travel teams, up 43 percent from just three years ago.

Over the years, the club has fielded countless winning teams—the Evanston varsity team won back-to-back state championships in the mid-1970s—attracted more girls to the program and groomed players for college careers, a goal of the association from its earliest days. 

Until Robert Crown opened, the association’s home ice was an outdoor rink next to Dyche Stadium, now Ryan Field. But house league teams generally practiced and played their games at rinks in Larimer, Bent, Leahy and other parks. Mathewson remembers city officials looking the other way as neighborhood volunteers opened up fire hydrants on a cold night to flood Larimer Park, at Crain Street and Oak Avenue.

“There was a lot of winking and nodding,” he says. 

The rink had no boards, but it had a warming hut with a fire pit inside. At some parks, parents would park their cars next to the rinks with their headlights on, so their kids could play in the dark, recalls Andy Pigozzi, who played for Evanston in the 1970s and 1980s. But a lot of the time, the neighborhood rinks offered an opportunity for plenty of pick-up hockey away from the supervision of coaches or parents.

“You’d play until you’d drop,” Pigozzi says. 

The association fielded all-star teams—the equivalent of today’s travel teams—that would play other clubs and go to tournaments. The house teams were neighborhood-based: If you lived near Bent Park, you played for the Bent Park team. The Larimer teams that Mathewson played on were a melting pot, with African-American and Hispanic players and kids from various nationalities, he says. 

Initially, the players would raise money for the club by selling Evanston Boys Hockey Association window decals for $1. Later, the club would hold annual pizza day fundraisers.

The hockey association took a big leap forward with the 1975 opening of Robert Crown, which the City of Evanston built for $2.5 million. With the growing popularity of hockey, the indoor facility, which has a full-sized and studio rink, was part of 1970s building wave that included the Winnetka Ice Arena and Centennial Ice Rink in Wilmette.  

Support for the Evanston project wasn’t universal: Calling the building “The Ice Palace,” Alderman Thomas Brinkmann argued that it mainly served rich families, and that the money would have been better spent on a roller-skating rink or swimming pool for “the masses.” Yet the city scored a coup when it recruited retired Chicago Blackhawk Eric Nesterenko to run its hockey program. 

Robert Crown “was awesome when it first opened,” says Pigozzi, who played on the first team to practice there. “It’s amazing it’s lasted as long as it has.”

The club has undergone ups and downs since then, with participation ebbing and flowing and teams that both dominated the competition and struggled to compete. Sean Ahern, father of an Evanston Squirt and Mite, doesn’t remember winning too much when he played in the 1970s and 1980s.

“We always liked to go to the Saddle & Cycle Club (in Chicago), because we were always guaranteed a win, and the parents were guaranteed a stiff drink,” he says. 
 
Del Morris, the club’s current hockey director, remembers the organization being able to field a travel team at each age level when he played for Evanston from 1985 to 1999. His sophomore year, he was goalie on a varsity team that took third in state.  

The club struggled after 2000, as the number of players dwindled. One year, it didn’t have enough players to form a Mite travel team, recalls Bob Nauert, a former EYHA board member and president. To fill out its high school roster, the association had to draw kids from outside Evanston for a period. 

“We never thought we would fold, but we had doubts about how many teams we could field,” he says.

The concern now is how to find enough ice time for all the club’s teams, a big impetus for the proposed new Robert Crown Center, which could have two full sheets of ice. Today, Evanston has two Bantam travel teams and three travel teams at both PeeWee and Squirt level. It also has a girls U-14 team, two house each teams at Bantam, PeeWee and Squirt level and four at the Mite level. The Evanston Junior Wildkits, which runs the Evanston Mite travel program, has two teams.

Both Morris and Nauert cite the success and popularity of the Blackhawks as a key factor driving the EYHA’s recent strong growth. Wherever the club goes from here, it will continue to be a place where young players forge strong friendships and learn important life lessons, just as Mathewson and his teammates did. 

“Hockey requires a great amount of concentration and self-discipline,” former EBHA President David Rodelius told the Evanston Review in 1968. “Someone is always badgering you into losing your temper so you will make a mistake. The boys learn to master themselves as they play the game.”

Even after 50 years, maybe the sport hasn’t changed all that much. 

Click here for photos over the years.

TopShare this

 
 
Q&A with the Board: Gabe Val
by posted 01/16/2017


Evanston Hockey Board Member Gabe Val

Q&A with the Board: Gabe Val

Evanston Hockey News sat down recently with board member and webmaster Gabe Val to learn more about his experience with the club. Gabe has been on the board since 2016. His three sons play in the program: Jimmy Val, PeeWee (U12) 1 travel, Gavin Course, PeeWee (U12) 3 travel and Carlos Val, Bantam (U14) house.

Evanston Hockey board members serve three-year terms, which can be renewed once.

Why did you join the Evanston Hockey board?
With three boys (two goalies and one skater) in Evanston Hockey for the next few years, we wanted to help the program continue to grow in the right direction. Also, since we expect our boys to be fully committed to the program, we thought as parents it was important to make the same commitment ourselves. But let's be really honest here. I mostly joined because the board president needed someone crazy enough to take over the webmaster duties, and I've never come across a website that I didn't want to clean up and maintain. It's a sickness. So it was a win-win situation.

Over the years, how has the Evanston Hockey program changed?
In the three years that we've been involved, we've seen the program really expand its appeal to kids who are totally new to hockey. Our current Bantam (U14) goalie started as a second year PeeWee (U12) when a group of his friends from Chute Middle School decided to try hockey. From day one, they immediately felt part of something special. Hockey fever spread like a pandemic over our home, and it wasn't long before we had two more kids playing. Luckily we've managed to contain the stench to the garage. It has also been wonderful to see more Evanston girls interested in hockey, and for Evanston Hockey to add a Girls U14 travel team this year. The team has had great success in its inaugural season.

What do you like best about being associated with the Evanston Hockey?
We have gotten to know so many Evanston area families and have really enjoyed making new friends through the program. Crown has become like a second home for our family. We love the feeling of pride that our boys have, along with the sense of camaraderie that they have built with their teammates, particularly over the long travel season. It has really taught them to take on a huge challenge and follow it through to the end with 100% effort.
 
Name one favorite moment of watching your children play.
Watching our three boys take the ice together at the first day of summer hockey camp was one of those "life is good" moments. Sitting in the stands and seeing one in each net and the other trying to dangle them brought a huge smile to our faces. We're trying to enjoy this time as much as possible because time is flying and before we know it, they'll have graduated out of the program.

TopShare this

 
 
Q&A with the Board: Carrie Ballard
by posted 12/16/2016


Evanston Hockey Board Member Carrie Ballard

Q&A with the Board: Carrie Ballard

Evanston Hockey has named Carrie Ballard to the board of directors. Evanston Hockey News sat down recently with Carrie to learn more about her experience with the club. Carrie’s daughter Maya plays on the Girls U14 travel team and Bantam (U14) travel; her son Hayden plays Squirt (U12) travel.

Evanston Hockey board members serve three-year terms, which can be renewed once.

Why did you join the Evanston Hockey board? 
Neither my husband nor I ever played hockey. We have both been touched with how generous the Evanston hockey community has been in helping us learn the ins and outs of the sport. I am honored to have the chance to give back as a board member. 

Over the years, how has the Evanston Hockey program changed?
I have been excited to see how the program has grown. The house program is a great way for kids to have fun playing hockey and learn the discipline of sport. The travel program reinforces the discipline. I enjoy seeing kids move from house to travel (and vice versa) and know that they have a meaningful team option. 

This year, Evanston also introduced a girls U14 program. I am happy to see so many girls interested in hockey and glad that Evanston is dedicating the resources to build a strong team for girls. 

What do you like best about being associated with the Evanston Hockey program? 
I like what the program represents. The diversity of families that play is great. The energy of the positive coaching approach has given our kids a very warm and receptive community to develop their hockey skills. Our daughter started playing house hockey as a second year Squirt (U12) – today, she is on the Bantam (U14) gold team. Our son also started as a house league Squirt (U12) and today is on the travel team.

We have watched a lot of kids grow up around us. Seeing the program give so many kids from different backgrounds the chance to get back as much as they give is inspirational. 

Name one favorite moment of watching your children play.
Hayden tried a number of sports and never liked to practice any of them. My most exciting moment was the day that he asked us if he could go to practice. I have enjoyed watching him fall in love with the game and have a blast with his teammates. 

This year, Maya is on the Bantam team, playing with a great group of boys. She is also on Evanston’s first-ever U14 girls team. Seeing Evanston build a girls team and watching the girls come together has been a time of tremendous pride for me. They went to their first tournament in November and won the tourney. Their excitement, enthusiasm and energy have been awesome. I wish I could bottle the magic of this season; each of the moments from the games marks a new favorite memory!

TopShare this

 
 
Q&A with the Board: Alex Bird
by posted 11/17/2016


Evanston Hockey Board Member Alex Bird

Q&A with the Board: Alex Bird

Evanston Hockey News sat down recently with board member and sponsorship director Alex Bird to learn more about his experience with the club. Alex has been on the board since 2016. His son Charles plays squirt (U10) travel, daughter Maggie plays mite (U8) house and son William is enrolled in hockey basics.

Evanston Hockey board members serve three-year terms, which can be renewed once.

Why did you join the Evanston Hockey board?
I grew up playing in the Evanston Hockey program myself and now I have three kids involved with it at various levels. I found myself volunteering to help the coaches on the ice and managing a team here and there, so when some of the current board members asked, I said "yes" right away since it seemed like natural next step. The board is a really good mix of people who care deeply about this program and making sure it’s successful in every way. It's been a great experience so far.
 
Over the years, how has the Evanston Hockey program changed?
I think the most obvious change has to be the number of kids playing hockey in Evanston. I grew up playing in the Evanston Hockey program and I only remember one team per level in the travel program and a very small house program. Now each level has two or three travel teams and we have a huge house program as well. The other big change I’ve seen personally is the amount of ice time the players are getting now. Ice time is everything for hockey and Evanston Hockey, in coordination with Crown and the City, has increased the amount of ice our kids get, which will make a huge difference in the long run. Now, with the new ice arena and community center being built, we should only be able to increase that even more, which is fantastic. 
 
What do you like best about being associated with the Evanston Hockey program?
For me the best part are the other families involved. I love our neighborhood and I love our school, but the hockey program allows my kids and our whole family to interact with kids and families from all over Evanston. There are also families from the city and other suburbs that come to play at Evanston so you really get to widen the network of friends. 
 
Name one favorite moment of watching your children play.
Favorite moment by far is we had one random Sunday where all my kids had some form of hockey at Crown, so I got a nice photo of all three walking into the rink and, even though it was 7 a.m. and freezing cold, they all had huge grins on their faces.
TopShare this

 
 
Q&A with the Board: Marina Marich
by posted 09/01/2016


Evanston Hockey Board Member Marina Marich

Q&A with the Board: Marina Marich

​Evanston Hockey News sat down recently with board member Marina Marich to learn more about her experience with the club. Marina has been on the board since 2015. Her son Rajko is a first year PeeWee and son Ilija is a first year Squirt.

Evanston Hockey board members serve three-year terms, which can be renewed once.

Why did you join the Evanston Hockey board?

Joining the board gave me an opportunity to be more involved with an organization that has provided my kids with so many wonderful experiences both on and off the ice. I have the best job on the board because I am responsible for marketing and communications. That means that I get to tell people about all of the great work our coaches and program are doing to develop players on all of our teams and to create a sense of community.

Over the years, how has the Evanston Hockey program changed?

Year after year we’ve seen a steady increase in the number of kids playing for the Wildkits. This allows us to give even more kids the opportunity to play the greatest game in the world. It also translates into new friends for the players and the families in the stands.

What do you like best about being associated with the Evanston Hockey program?

Once a Wildkit, always a Wildkit. I love that our club offers hockey programs to our youngest players all the way through high school varsity for boys and girls. This builds a strong sense of passion and dedication for Evanston Hockey along with lifelong fans and friendships.

Name one favorite moment of watching your child play.

Since my boys are two birth years apart, they haven’t played on the same team yet during the regular season. During a scrimmage game, however, they both played defense on the same team. It was fun watching them work together and communicate as only siblings can. I’m already looking forward to watching the Marich brothers play together in the future on the high school team!

TopShare this

 
 
Q&A with the Board: Brad Dunlap
by posted 07/15/2016


Evanston Hockey Board Member Brad Dunlap

Q&A with the Board: Brad Dunlap

Evanston Hockey News sat down recently with board member Brad Dunlap to learn more about his experience with the club. Brad has been on the board since 2014. His son Will is a second year PeeWee, daughter Abby plays mini-stick with her dad and brother in the basement and daughter Ella is ready to come out for Mite house this fall.

Evanston Hockey board members serve three-year terms, which can be renewed once.

Why did you join the Evanston Hockey board?

I grew up around hockey and continue to love the game. I wanted to be able to contribute to our program along with the other great volunteers and board members to help it grow into a premier program for all players.

Over the years, how has the Evanston Hockey program changed?

Over the years the number of players and interest in hockey has grown, which is great to see. I think the program has expanded along with it offering increased on-ice and off-ice opportunities. 

What do you like best about being associated with the Evanston Hockey program?

I love the community feel the program has. Many of the kids are able to skate together on teams over a number of years, and I think that contributes to a sense of togetherness and community for the players and their families. I believe we have an excellent on-ice experience that allows our players to compete at a high level. But the friendships that these players develop and lessons learned about teamwork, sacrifice and the value of hard work will be the ones that they will carry beyond the rink.

Name one favorite moment of watching your child play.

My favorite moment for my son Will (second year PeeWee) would be his first ever hockey goal. It was a spring Mite game when he was about six years old and I just happened to bring a video camera along. I just remember the excitement he had on his face as he was high-fiving his teammates back to the bench, one so hard it nearly knocked him to the ice!

TopShare this

 
 
Q&A with the Board: Raj Ghate
by posted 02/28/2016


Evanston Hockey Board Member Raj Ghate

Q&A with the Board: Raj Ghate

​Evanston Hockey News sat down recently with board member Raj Ghate to learn more about his experience with the club. Raj has been on the board since 2013 and is responsible for the travel team managers. His son Nick is a PeeWee, son Jaxson is a Squirt and son Wyatt is a Mite with the Junior Wildkits.

Evanston Hockey board members serve three-year terms, which can be renewed once.

Why did you join the Evanston Hockey board?

With three kids playing hockey, I was excited to be part of the board and interested in helping to grow the program.

Over the years, how has the Evanston Hockey program changed?

The program has grown dramatically, and I'm very excited about that growth.

What do you like best about being associated with the Evanston Hockey program?

I enjoy the sense of community pride with the program. That sense of pride has contributed to the program’s growth over the past few years.

Name one favorite moment of watching your child(ren) play.

This year has been fun being able to watch two of my kids play on the same team at the same time.

TopShare this

 
 
Q&A with the Board: Dani Barker
by posted 11/29/2015


Evanston Hockey Board Member Dani Barker

Q&A with the Board: Dani Barker

Evanston Hockey News sat down recently with board member Dani Barker to learn more about his experience with the club. Dani has been on the board since 2014 and is the secretary. Her son Aidan is a PeeWee and her daughter Emma is a Squirt.

Why did you join the Evanston Hockey board?

I decided to join the Evanston Hockey board because I wanted to support and have a voice in the organization that both my kids and husband devote so much of their time to. I also wanted to help find ways to introduce other kids to the wonderful game of hockey.

Over the years, how has the Evanston Hockey program changed?

Since my family has become part of Evanston Hockey, the program has grown in both the number of kids playing and opportunities for kids new to hockey. I hope to see continued growth in years to come.

What do you like best about being associated with the Evanston Hockey program?

Evanston hockey is a small program, which provides the feeling of all being part of a family. When my son decided to come to Evanston from another program, I was a bit nervous, not knowing anything about Evanston Hockey. He made this choice at the very last minute, just a few hours before tryouts were set to begin, and I didn't know how he would be received. I called then-Hockey Director, JP Bordeleau, to make sure teams weren't already set (the politics of some other clubs) and was reassured every kid gets a fair chance based on their performance at tryouts. When my son walked into Robert Crown that night, a bit tentative, he was greeted by a few families who knew him with huge "Welcome to Evanston!" hug, we knew he had made the right choice.

Name one favorite moment of watching your child(ren) play.

It's hard to choose one moment. Both of my kids have had many successes and each huge smile leaving the ice becomes a favorite. But if I had to name one (ok, maybe two).... The first was at the end of my son's first season in Evanston. His Squirt team won third place in their NIHL division and when they came off the ice, the whole team gathered on their own before going in the locker room for a victory chant which was both exciting and endearing to see. A second favorite happens every week watching my husband coach my daughter and the close bond they've developed over hockey.

TopShare this