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.

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Weekly Sign Ups Now Available for Summer Skates
by posted 05/23/2019


Summer Skates Registration NOW Open

Summer Skates Registration Open: Drop Ins and Summer Pass

Registration is now open for Evanston Hockey's summer skate program. The weekly sessions will be divided into skill development (skating, puck handling, shooting and passing) and games (small area games and full-ice games). Evanston Hockey high school and travel coaches will lead the sessions.

The skates are open to all players from 8U through high school, boys and girls.

When: June 10-Aug. 1 on main ice (no ice on July 4)

Cost:

$120 [8U, 10U, 14U, 14U girls with checking - 8 sessions total]
$105 [12U and 14U girls without checking  - 7 sessions total]
Goalies half-price

NOTE: Weekly drop-in registrations also available; each week opens on the Saturday before and closes on the Friday of that week

There is also Little Kits (ages 4-6) and Big Kits (ages 5-7) programming available too.

Learn more about all summer skate options and register here: http://evanstonhockey.com/Registration/Default.asp?org=EVANSTONHOCKEY.COM

If you have any questions, please email .

 

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Congratulations to all Coach and Player of the Month Winners
by posted 05/21/2019


Congratulations to all Coach and Player of the Month Winners

Congratulations to all Coach and Player of the Month Winners

Throughout the 2018-19 season, Evanston Hockey has recognized a coach and player of the month as part of its partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance. All monthly winners and nominees were entered into a raffle -- congratulations to player Will Bodine and coach Ryan Clark! Each will receive a $50 gift card to Play It Again Sports in Evanston.

Evanston Hockey has renewed its partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance. We look forward to recognizing even more players and coaches who demonstrate the values of the Positive Coaching Alliance to support better athletes, better people.

You can see a list of all winners and nominees here.

Congrats to everyone!

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Evanston Hockey National Honor Society Inductees
by posted 05/17/2019


Six Evanston Hockey Wildkits inducted into National Honor Society; pictured are Nutkevitch, Wanderwarker, Kennedy and Hansen. Not pictured: Doppelt and McDermott

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. Students are recognized for their Character, Service, Leadership and Scholarship. These Wildkits have represented Evanston Hockey and ETHS on the ice, in the classroom, volunteering and leading as student athletes.

  • Jonah Doppelt
  • Gavin Hansen
  • Aidan Kennedy
  • Drew McDermott
  • Rory Nutkevitch
  • Will Vanderwarker

Learn more about the National Honor Society here: https://www.nhs.us/about/

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Save the Date: Evanston Hockey Marathon on Aug. 24
by posted 05/11/2019


Save the Date: 24-Hour Hockey Marathon on Aug. 24

Save the Date: Evanston Hockey Marathon on Aug. 24

We're going to do it again: Twenty-four hours of hockey at the Robert Crown Center. And we need you to play.

Mark your calendar: Puck drop at 1pm on Aug. 24. More details to follow.

Questions? Contact Alby Gallun at 847/636-8329 or .

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Director's Message: Be at Your Best All Summer
by posted 05/10/2019


Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris

Director's Message: Be at Your Best All Summer

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. Core strength is critical for hockey players, can improve your game and give you a step above the competition -- without ever stepping on the ice. The summer months provide great weather and plenty of opportunities to get outside and get moving.

Here are a few ideas to stay physically and mentally fit:

  • 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.
  • Work on core strength: Get in those sit ups, planks and box jumps for ultimate core strength. Our off-ice partner, Precision Multisport, offers an unlimited summer pass for $225.
  • 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 conditioning, tryouts and the beginning of the fall/winter 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 a great time to spend time with teammates off the ice. 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.

Enjoy the well deserved summer months! Go Kits!

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President's Message: Get Outside for Summer
by posted 05/10/2019


Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap

President's Message: Get Outside for Summer

Finally the weather is warming up! Spring hockey is now wrapped up, time to get outside and away from the rink. Although we have many summer hockey options to help keep your player’s skills sharp, summer should be a time to get your kids outside and playing other sports and activities (https://www.admkids.com/news_article/show/807702).  

We appreciate the support of all of our players and families, and extend a special thank you to everyone who volunteered with Evanston Hockey to make this past season great.

We are very excited for our 2019-2020 season as we will get to move into the new state of the art Robert Crown Center as construction finishes on the building around November/December 2019. Also, be sure to save the date and look for forthcoming information regarding the second annual Evanston Hockey Marathon on Aug. 24-25. This 24 hour game for both kids and adults will help raise money for player financial aid and also will support the new Robert Crown Center.  

Have a wonderful and safe summer, and I look forward to seeing everyone back at the rink in the fall.

Go Kits!

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JV Takes Second at Chicago Spring Classic
by posted 04/28/2019


JV Takes Second at Chicago Spring Classic

JV Takes Second at Chicago Spring Classic

Playing together in a tournament format for the first time, the JV team took to the ice over the weekend for the annual Chicagoland Spring Classic. Despite the winter-like conditions outside the rink, the boys played hot most of the weekend, on their way to a 4-1 record, and a second place finish.

Tournament play began late Friday evening against Lyons Township High School. Both teams looked shaky early on, as the first period came to a close with a 0-0 tie. The game would not stay tied for long, as Jimmy Val opened the scoring early in the period, to give the Kits a 1-0 lead. Lyons tied the game quickly, but Luke Flangel took the lead back with 4:15 left in the second period on a terrific pass from Peter Hansen. Val would add another goal shortly thereafter, but Lyons would cut the lead to 3-2 heading into the final period of play. The final period would belong to Evanston, as Parker Dietz and Tejas Baichwal would score, and Wes Stukenberg was solid in goal, as the Kits picked up a 5-2 win to open the tournament.

Saturday morning featured a gritty game between Evanston and the Midget Minor team from Hoffman Estates, The Timberwolves. This game was close from the opening puck drop. After a back and forth first period, Logan Reynolds was able to put the Kits on the board with 1:44 to go in the first, and Evanston would head into the second period clinging to that 1-0 lead. Titan Mrozik would extend the lead to 2-0 mid-way through the second, on a play that Timberwolves fans thought was offside. Nevertheless, the goal stood, and would carry that 2-0 lead until the 8:42 mark of the third period, when Hoffman Estates would finally put one past Stukenberg, to make it a one goal game. At that point, the defense stepped up, and protected the lead until the buzzer sounded for a 2-1 win. Wildkit defensemen Nick Ghate, Rajko Marich, Sebastian Colon and Peter Hansen, deserve credit for limiting most Timberwolves shot opportunities down the stretch.

The late game on Saturday against Oswego can be summed up easily. Oswego simply didn't have an answer for Titan Mrozik, who tallied 4 goals in the contest, in a 5-1 Wildkit win. Liam Riefke closed out the scoring with a third period goal, and Stukenberg stopped almost everything that came his way, as Evanston earned the #1 seed heading into Sunday morning's semi-final game against Highland Park. Despite the long drive and lack of sleep, the Kits came out sharp Sunday morning, and this game was never in doubt, as Evanston cruised to a 10-1 semi-final win. Dietz, Val, Riefke, Sean Kennedy (2), Flangel (2), Brandon Wui, Colon, and Reynolds, would all score in this one, in their best effort of the spring season, setting up a rematch with the Timberwolves for the tourney championship.

Sunday afternoon's championship game started promising, as Parker Dietz put Evanston up early, 1-0. But, credit goes out to the Hoffman Estates goaltender, who stood tall the rest of the game, and shut down the Kits for the final two periods of play. The Timberwolves would tie the game with 11:42 left in the second period, and take the lead a short time later on a power play goal. Despite multiple scoring opportunities in the third period, Evanston could not close the gap, and fell 2-1, earning the silver medal in tournament play. The JV squad is off next weekend, as many players shift gears and head up to Milwaukee for lacrosse. The Kits are back on the ice on May 11th against an angry Highland Park team that will be looking for revenge after their 10-1 tournament loss.

NOTE: The JV team also advanced to the championship game of the Windy City Classic, which took place the weekend of May 17-19. Congrats to the team for battling tough!

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12U Kahn Runner Up at Chicago Spring Classic
by posted 04/28/2019


12U Kahn Runner Up at Chicago Spring Classic

12U Kahn Runner Up at Chicago Spring Classic

Start with Mt. Prospect, next add Fox Valley, sprinkle in Crystal Lake, and finish off with 2 helpings of West Dundee and you get a very strong 2nd place finish in the 12U Gold Division of the Chicago Spring Classic.

The “rust” of a new team was apparent in their first game going down 0-4 through the first half of their match-up against the Express, and while they ended up losing 3-6, they won the second half of that first game 3-2.

With strong coaching and locker room culture the Kits continued their momentum and took the W against the Chargers in their second game 4-3. As the April snow storm fell the boys ran into a strong Ice Dogs team and fell themselves 3-6 to end round robin play.

This set up a semi-final rematch against the Express, this time with a very different result. Team defense and a relentless high pressure offense gave E-Town a 5-0 shut-out and Championship game ticket.

Alas, facing the Ice Dogs again, the Kits couldn’t quite get the right bounces to go their way and lost 3-6 for second place. Great way to spend the weekend and they will certainly be a team to beat in the Glacier Tournament next month!

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Q&A with the Board: Sam Bodine
by posted 04/26/2019


Evanston Hockey High School Board Member Sam Bodine

Q&A with the Board: Sam Bodine

Evanston Hockey News sat down recently with high school board member Sam Bodine to learn more about his experience with the club. Sam joined the high school board in 2019 and previously served a three-year term on the youth board. He is responsible for establishing a community service program and also serves on the rules & ethics committee. His son Will is a high school player.

Why did you join the Evanston Hockey high school board? 
 
As a former youth board member and an advocate for Evanston Hockey, with the formation of the new high school board I simply wanted to get back to work to assist in the development of our program.
 
Over the years, how has the Evanston Hockey program changed?
 
Having been involved with Evanston Hockey for over a decade it is amazing to see how the program continues to evolve providing our skaters with different opportunities for growth and development. This is evident simply by the increasing number of participants that continue to skate, coach and volunteer.
 
What do you like best about being associated with the Evanston Hockey program?
 
As a hockey purest and having a true passion for the game, I appreciate that Evanston Hockey provides a place for anyone to enjoy the game.
 
Name one favorite moment of watching your child play.
 
As a parent, and former coach, I appreciate the relationships my son, Will, has created with his teammates both on, and more importantly, off the ice. 
 

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Rodriguez Receives Evanston Hockey's Highest Honor
by posted 04/16/2019


Evanston Hockey Varsity Player Gabi Rodriguez Named Winner of Al Tisdahl Memorial Award

Evanston Hockey Varsity Player Gabi Rodriguez Named Al Tisdahl Memorial Award Winner

During Evanston Hockey’s annual high school banquet, Evanston Township High School senior and Evanston Hockey varsity co-captain Gabi Rodriguez 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. Rodriguez joins 18 seniors who have won the award in the past. Rodriguez was also named to the league’s All Star team.

"For me, this award is a tremendous honor," said Rodriguez. "I am thankful for everything the game of hockey has taught me, and I am thankful for the program and how great it truly is. Evanston Hockey teaches the youth in our community the game of hockey, but it also teaches every single kid how to develop into a good person."

Congratulations and thank you for making Evanston proud. #SkateLikeAWildkit

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Coach and Player of the Month Winners
by posted 04/15/2019


Evanston Hockey Coach Parker Colvin and Player Will Bodine Named Coach and Player of the Month

Congratulations to Coach and Player of the Month Winners for March

As part of its partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance, Evanston Hockey is recognizing players and coaches who honor the game. Congratulations to our March winners: Coach Parker Colvin and Player Will Bodine.

Coach of the Month – Parker Colvin
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 Parker, who coached the 10U and 12U orange house teams, was nominated by a player because “He makes the game so fun for many others! He is so kind. He doesn’t care who you are-- he just makes you happy on and off the ice no matter what. He is always positive and can work with anyone. He is the best coach ever and I could never ask for more!”


Player of the Month – Will Bodine
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. 

JV High School player Will Bodine was recognized by teammates for going above and beyond every practice and every game.  Will was nominated by teammates, who stated, “He works hard, and I have never seen him slacking in drills or games. He does his part on the ice and says no more. He is very humble, and modest about his skill. But he leads by example on the JV team.”

“Will plays defense for the JV team and is one of the alternate captains. Will brings great presence and leadership to the team, on and off the ice, and makes everyone around him better. Will also always gives his 100% effort, no matter what. Will plays his hardest in games, practices, and at off ice, and brings the same energy to tasks like his schoolwork where hockey might not be involved.”

“Will always comes to the rink ready to work and ready to play hard, whether we’re practicing or playing a game, he always brings a high intensity. He’s able to rally the team and has a great knowledge for the game.”

Way to go Coach Parker and Will! Monthly winners will be entered into a raffle at the end of the season for great prizes.
Winners for both the player and coach of the month are selected at random from the nominations submitted every month, with the Board of Directors and hockey director reviewing the finalists before they are announced.  

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Wildkits Host Blackhawks Special Hockey Team
by posted 03/17/2019


Evanston Wildkits and members of the Chicago Blackhawks Special Hockey Team during this season's scrimmage

Wildkits Host Chicago Blackhawks Special Hockey Team

Building on a tradition started last season, Evanston Hockey once again played a scrimmage game with the Chicago Blackhawks Special Hockey team. The game took place on Saturday, March 16 at Robert Crown Center.

The Chicago Blackhawks Special Hockey team is dedicated to providing children and adults with developmental disabilities the opportunity to play hockey. The game was also a fundraiser for the Chicago Blackhawks Special Hockey team, which raised more than $2,000 during the event. This enabled the team to take 37 players -- the most ever -- to Florida for the USA Hockey Disabled Hockey Festival.

This year's game included 2004 and 2005 birth year players who represented our house, travel and girls programs. We anticipate making this an annual event with current 14U players eligible to participate.

A huge thank you to parent Christine Tepper, who organized the event;  Mike Kuhn, who donated cookies for the raffle and players; and parents Stuart Wick and Brett Barker, who served as referees.

Thanks to everyone who came out and cheered on the Blackhawks!

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Second Annual Coach Classic a Success
by posted 03/17/2019


High school, travel and house coaches participated in the 2019 Coach Classic

Second Annual Coach Classic a Success

Coaches from Evanston Hockey's high school, travel and house programs participated in the second annual Coach Classic on Saturday, March 16 at Robert Crown Center -- and it was great fun all around!

While the blue team took this year's classic 7-4, team white kept it close and will look for revenge next year. Big thanks to parent Stuart Wick, who served as referee.

Thanks to everyone who came out to support our coaches!

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House Playoff Success
by posted 03/03/2019


House Playoff Success

House Playoff Success

14U Orange
By Steve Retzloff

House 14U ended their season in spectacular form by winning the Gold Tier 1 Tournament held at Glenview Ice Area March 2nd through 10th. The Wildkit Bantam team swept the series by winning all four games. Backed by a strong defense performance and spectacular goaltending, the 14Us yielded a total of only three goals in the four games played in the tournament. Although the team struggled during a stretch in the mid-season, the 14U team won when it mattered most. First, by winning all their games in the early year seeding round, the 14Us were able to make it in to the Gold Tier 1 Division. Next, winning enough games in the regular season to earn a spot in the Tier 1 playoff bracket and then sweeping the playoffs for the title. All in all, the 2018/2019 season was a rewarding experience for all involved, including coaches, parents and, most importantly, the players.  

10U Orange
By Parker Colvin

10U Orange finished the season playing some of their best hockey, earning 2nd place in the NSYHL Silver playoffs. Orange played as a team all season with eight different skaters suiting up in net and 11 players notching goals on the year. As skills and team play improved throughout the season, the results were impossible to miss. Season-defining moments came with a thrilling 9-7 win over the eventual Gold-II champions, Twin Rinks #1, as well as some extremely tight, back and forth, rivalry games against Squirt Blue. 10U Orange was led down the stretch by 50 goal-scorer Luke Dickey, defensive anchor Sam Graczyk, two-way hero Caleb Nicholson and playoff goalie, Luke Thomas. Ultimately, this team gelled because of their hard work, unselfish play and genuine kindness to one another.

12U Blue
By Vic Lesage

The girls and boys of the 12U Blue team won the North Shore Championship this season defeating Wilmette 5-2 in the final game. The fast paced game was 2-2 going into the 3rd and the Kits came flying off the bench to score 2 quick goals. Wilmette didn’t know what hit them. It was truly something to see. The team played all season long with a ton of heart. They worked hard. They played hard. And, as momentum built towards the end of the season it all paid off. Every playoff game was a battle, true back and forth hockey, and our “NO QUIT!” mantra kept these kids fighting every single step of the way. Throughout the season, we talked a lot about team play and how each and every skater had a job to do. When you come to the rink be sure to bring your best and good things will happen for not just you but the entire team. And that’s exactly what they did. We are super proud of each and every one of these kids, for their effort, for their comradely, and most importantly for believing in each other that they could end this season in victory. It was truly a team effort. Well done Kits!

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North Shore Cup Champs
by posted 03/02/2019


North Shore Cup Champs

North Shore Cup Champs

10U Kahn
By Garry Shumaker

10U Kahn earned a North Shore Cup championship with a strong team effort. The Kits came to work and never let up in a rematch against a long benched Northbrook team who bested the Kits only two nights prior to the championship in round robin play. The 3-0 championship shutout posted by these Kits is a fitting end to a great season. This team worked hard all year building a foundation of skill and selfless team play, over the course of the season this group earned two tournament championship finals and brings home a 1st place win to close this season. Solid team effort and defense effort from every player on the ice supported a hungry offense that resulted in an overwhelming win against a Northbrook team that out played and out worked our Kits only a few days earlier.

10U Howard
By Jacie Zolna

10U Howard won the North Shore Cup to end the season in a hard fought game against the heavily favored Northbrook Bluehawks. Outmanned and playing a Northbrook team that beat them twice during the regular season, the Wildkits pulled out a gritty 3-2 victory. Leo Zolna got things going for the Wildktis scoring on the first shift of the game to put Evanston up 1-0. Great team defense and goaltending kept Northbrook off the board until well into the second period when a tough goal tied things up at 1-1. Unfazed, the Wildkits answered on the very next shift when Leo Zolna scored his second goal of the game. The remainder of the game was filled with tense moments, strong team play, a successful 5 on 3 penalty kill, and a number of great saves by goaltender Brennan Robbins. Veteran and team captain, Eddie Scanlan, put things away scoring his final goal as a 10U player to ice the game in the third period. It was a true team effort with all players contributing, stellar defense and great coaching. The Kits punched their ticket to the championship game by going 2-1 in the round robin play, falling 5-4 to Winnetka before taking down Wilmette 4-2 and the Ice Dogs 5-1.    

12U Kidd
By Mike Kuhn

12U Kidd caught fire at the right time. Entered in the season ending North Shore Cup tournament they used a balanced attack, good defense and hot goaltending to finish the tournament 5-0. They out scored their opponents 22-5. The championship game was a rematch against Northbrook. The two teams played Sunday for the right to go to the final. On Sunday the Kits maintained a 1-0 lead late in the contest. They chipped in an empty net goal to seal the 2-0 win. On Monday, Northbrook came out with speed and determination on their home ice. They raced out to a 2-0 lead by the end if the first period. The Kits were in the game, they held a solid 2-1 advantage in shots. They just needed to break through. The good guys did exactly that with 8 1/2 minutes to go in the second period. Then came a pivotal 2 minute stretch. With a Kit forward in the penalty box the Wilkits scored 2 short handed goals during the same penalty kill. They were able to get an insurance goal with just over 2 minutes left in the game to seal the 5-3 win. Lots of glove tossing and team hugs ensued. Fitting of the way the tournament went the game featured goals by 5 different skaters. The goalies shared the net in the final, with both making great saves at key times.

Congratulations to our players, coaches, fans and parents who supported, cheered and transported our teams all season.

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Varsity Earns IHSHL North-Central League’s Gold Championship
by posted 02/19/2019


Varsity Earns IHSHL North-Central League’s Gold Championship

Varsity Earns IHSHL North-Central League’s Gold Championship

The Evanston varsity found itself behind by three goals late in a state playoff game on Sunday, but a comeback didn’t seem entirely crazy considering what happened three nights before.
 
In that game, the Kits erased a 0-3 deficit with less than four minutes left in the third period, stunning their opponent, Lake Zurich Mundelein Wauconda, when they punched in the tying goal with five seconds left. After a scoreless overtime period, the Kits prevailed in a shootout and advanced to the championship game in the IHSHL’s North-Central League’s Gold Division.
 
The varsity followed up that dramatic victory with a 2-1 win over Warren on Saturday night, claiming the Gold championship banner and adding to the Kits’ strong post-season momentum.
 
But the team still had some unfinished business: the state playoffs. After handily beating Fenwick and Naperville North in the first two rounds, the varsity team, which was seeded 32nd, had reason to feel confident Sunday night, when it hosted a surging Marmion Academy team from Aurora, seeded 33rd, at the Robert Crown Center. The winner would advance to the round of 16 versus St. Ignatius College Prep.
 
The Kits struck first, but Marmion answered with four straight goals. Evanston controlled the play for extended stretches, making another comeback seem possible, even in the third period. But a three-goal deficit proved too much for the Kits this time around. Evanston couldn’t overcome a hot goaltender for the Cadets, losing 5-1 after an empty netter and ending their 2018-2019 season.
 
Still, the varsity team’s strong post-season performance should add to the team’s confidence next year. The Kits will lose some key contributors and leaders to graduation, but as many as 15 of the 21 players on its current roster are eligible to return next fall.

 

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Setting Goals in Order to Achieve Them
by posted 02/18/2019


Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris

Setting Goals in Order to Achieve Them

It's been great seeing so many players back on the ice for our spring program. From our littlest Junior Wildkits to our boys and girls youth players and our high schoolers.

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.

This is also a great time to remind players to go into every practice goal-oriented. What that means is they should set goals and have a specific focus for every practice. All players can improve every moment they're on the ice; having a focus or a purpose will help players hit the ice determined and dialed in.

As your kids focus on spring, we've already starting thinking about our summer offerings to gear up for the fall. Stay tuned for more information coming soon.

Also, I'd like to congratulate all of our teams who finished the fall season strong. Our Varsity team won the league championship, 14U Orange and 12U Blue won the North Shore championship, 10U Orange earned second in the league playoffs, and 12U Kidd, 10U Kahn and 10U Howard all won the North Shore Cup.

Finally, a big thank you to everyone for coming out to the coach game and the 14U scrimmage with the Chicago Blackhawks Special Hockey team in March. I know our coaches and players had a great time, and it was the perfect way to kick off our spring season. See you at the rink soon.

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Spring Forward Hockey Players & Fans
by posted 02/17/2019


Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap

President's Message: Spring Forward Hockey Players & Friends

It's great to see the sun out again, and the sprint from spring break to the end of the school year has begun!

The spring season is in full swing. With a focus on skills and individual development, the spring season is a great time for our players to work on things that will benefit them throughout the next year. Hockey Director Del Morris is working closely with our specialty coaches Bob Rose and Zack Nauert (shooting and scoring), Jimmy Kahn (puckhandling and defensive skills) and Christian Grunnah (power skating) to maximize the use of our spring practice ice. Most of our teams will be competing in at least one local tournament as well, so there will be chances to implement those improved skills in game situations.

Thank you to everyone who completed our fall/winter season survey - the board will be reviewing your responses and looking for ways to continually improve and elevate the program. Thank you also to all of our youth board members who have completed their time on the Evanston Hockey Youth Board of Directors - Raj Ghate, Kim DiPadova, Joe Maguire, Gabe Val and Gary DeStefano. We would also like to extend a warm welcome to our three new board members, Andy Bediz, Parker Colvin and George Efstathiou, and thank them, as well as all of our wonderful Evanston Hockey volunteers, for their time and effort in making our program go.

The new Robert Crown Community Center looks to be right on track with a target of mid-November 2019 for the opening of the building and ice rinks. It will be quite a thrill to see our players and teams in that spectacular new facility come this fall.

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

Go Kits!

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Coach and Player of the Month Winners
by posted 02/16/2019


Evanston Hockey Coach Declan Hartnett and Players Olivia and Harrison Named Coach and Players of the Month

Congratulations to Coach and Player of the Month Winners for February

As part of its partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance, Evanston Hockey is recognizing players and coaches who honor the game. Congratulations to our February winners: Coach Declan Hartnett and Players Olivia DiPadova and Harrison Boes.

Coach of the Month – Declan Hartnett

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 Declan, who assists the 10U Kahn team, was nominated because “He’s encouraging and helpful and gives the kids great advice. The kids love him and he’s been a great addition to the coaching staff. He has made the time to get to know each of the players and never stops encouraging them. His positive energy is contagious on the ice during practices. He keeps the sport fun for each of them while never compromising their work ethic. It has been such a joy to have him as a part of the 10U Kahn team.” A player notes: "Coach Declan is always nice and really encouraging. He cheers us on and always comes up with fun games to help us practice skills.” 

Another nomination for Coach Declan stated, “Coach Declan made the team feel really special at a tournament when he enlisted his college teammates to set up the home locker room for them. This is just one example of how Declan makes the team feel special. The fact that the whole Western Michigan team came out to cheer on Declan’s team is also a testament to how well he is liked and appreciated.”
 

Players of the Month – Olivia DiPadova and Harrison Boes

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. 

Girls’ High School player Olivia DiPadova was recognized for going above and beyond every practice and every game. Olivia was nominated by a player, who stated, “I think she should be nominated because she is the most dedicated girl on the girls high school team, she is always there and is always leading the team. She also is on the mentorship team teaching the younger players and leading them in the right path.” Olivia is a mentor for a 10U house team.

10U Blue player, Harrison Boes was nominated because “Harris is always smiling and has a positive attitude on and off the ice. Harris just started playing hockey this season, but you would think he has played for years as evidenced by his tremendous enthusiasm for the game of hockey. He is eager to get better each and every practice and game. He is encouraging to his teammates and just fun to be around. Harris is a tremendous asset to the Squirt Blue team!”

Another nomination stated, “He works hard every practice and is always ready to try out a new skill. In the locker room Harris helps lead the team and never has a negative word to say. His smile is always present no matter if we are winning by 5 or losing by 5. In addition to all of this, Harris has caught the ‘bug’ to play goalie this season. So while he’s been learning basic hockey skills he’s also been taking on the goalie skills and doing a great job.”

Way to go Coach Declan, Olivia and Harrison! 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 March.

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 March nominations are due March 5.

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Evanston Hockey Youth Board of Directors Adds Members
by posted 02/13/2019


Evanston Hockey Youth Board of Directors Officers and New Members

Evanston Hockey Youth Board of Directors Adds Members

At its annual meeting, the Evanston Hockey youth board of directors elected its officers for the 2019-20 season and elected new board members. Evanston Hockey youth 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 third season serving as president. He has two kids who play hockey, a son who is moving up to high school and a daughter who is a 10U player.

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 youth board since 2018. His son is moving up to 12U this spring.

Secretary: George Efstathiou
Efstathiou was elected to the board in 2019 as the secretary, replacing Kim DiPadova. As secretary, Efstathiou will keep the minutes of the board of director meetings among other work as outlined in the bylaws. He has a son who is a 10U player and another son who is just getting his hockey career started.

Renewed Terms
The board also renewed the term for Carrie Ballard and Alex Bird. Carrie is the board member responsible for the girls program; she has a daughter who has played girl high school hockey and a son who moves up to 14U this spring. Alex is the board member responsible for sponsorships. He has a son who plays 12U and a daughter who plays 10U.

New Members
The board also elected Andy Bediz and Parker Colvin to the board. Andy has two children in the program, a 12U player and another who is just starting his hockey career through the Big Kits program. Andy will be a board member working on the website, on-ice equipment needs and Positive Coaching Alliance program. Parker has three kids who play at the 8U and 12U levels. Parker will be a board member serving as the house liaison between the youth board and the house program along with supporting our growing girls program.

Retiring Members
Evanston Hockey would like to thank Raj Ghate for his years of service on the youth hockey board. Ghate was elected to the board in 2013. He was the board member responsible for coordinating youth tournaments and, more recently, served as the Evanston Hockey representative on the Friends of Crown board to raise funds in support of the new Robert Crown Community Center.

We will be updating the website with new youth board information in the coming weeks.

Please join us in thanking our volunteer youth 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.

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Spring & Summer Skating Options
by posted 02/10/2019


Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris

Director's Message: Spring & Summer Skating Options

As we near the end of the 2018-19 season, I want to thank our players, coaches and parents for their dedication, sacrifice and hard work. I know it can be a long season -- we got started in August last year -- and then it always seems that the end comes to a close too quickly.

I'm thankful that I had the chance to work with all of our teams this year. I got to see first hand the hard work and fun our kids were having whether I was on the bench for games, attending team practices or coaching players during our skill nights.

It's been a pleasure working more closely with the coaches and players. When I see the effort and the hard work the kids put into hockey, it makes my job that much better. And I feel the kids have formed bonds with memories that will last a lifetime and improved their game.

No need to hang up the skates just yet, though. We have a couple of exciting opportunities for players to continue developing their skills and taking their game to the next level.

Spring -- Our spring season emphasizes 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. Learn more and register here.

Summer -- Our Evanston Hockey coaches are partnering with the City of Evanston to lead the city's summer Hat Trick Hockey Camp. There are half and full-day options available. I highly recommend this camp for kids. Consider this: 15 hours a week of ice time during a week of summer camp is the equivalent of a month or more worth of practice time during the season. It is impressive how much players improve with 3-4 weeks of the Hat Trick Hockey Camp. Learn more here and register by contacting James Faedtke at or 847-448-8258.

For those High School kids who have aged out of signing up for the summer camps, there is still a way for them to participate in the camps as a camp counselor. If you are interested in being a summer camp counselor, please contact James Faedtke at or 847-448-8258 to get more information. It would be nice to have kids who grew up in the program give back to the program in this way.

Again, thanks for a great season and we'll see you at the rink soon! Let's go Kits!

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Evanston Hockey Forms High School Board, Adds Members
by posted 02/09/2019


Evanston Hockey Forms High School Board, Adds Members

Evanston Hockey Forms High School Board, Adds Members

Evanston Hockey has formally established a high school board of directors to oversee its Varsity, Junior Varsity and Girls High School programs.

The Evanston Youth Hockey Association had always administered both the youth and high school programs. AHAI recognizes Tier 2 youth programs and high school programs differently. As a result, in discussions with AHAI leadership, Evanston Hockey decided to formally split our youth and high school boards.

Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap said, "The respective boards will now be able to better concentrate on the specific needs of their members and teams."

To ensure a smooth transition and seamless on-ice experience, there will be some board member overlap initially. In addition, Del Morris will continue to be hockey director for both programs and Evanstonhockey.com will still be the home for all things Evanston hockey, from our youngest players through to our high school seniors.

The high school board terms are one year terms that are renewable up to four times. The board will be electing officers and finalizing governance documents at an upcoming meeting.

High school board members for the 2019-20 season include:

  • Carrie Ballard
  • Dani Barker
  • Sam Bodine  
  • Gary DeStefano
  • Kim DiPadova
  • Brad Dunlap
  • Alby Gallun  
  • Raj Ghate
  • Joe Maguire
  • Marina Marich
  • Gabe Val
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It's a Wrap, Time for Thanks All Around
by posted 02/09/2019


Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap

President's Message: It's a Wrap, Time for Thanks All Around

As another great season of Evanston Hockey winds down on the ice, I would like to take an opportunity to thank the hundreds of volunteers that make our program go. From our managers, to our board members, to the volunteers at Hockey Days in Evanston, to those of you who ran the scoreboard, to any of you who stepped in and gave time to our program -- thank you. And a special thank you to our sponsors who make it possible for even more kids to play this great game. 

Thank you also to our travel and high school coaches, our volunteer house coaches, as well as our Hockey Director Del Morris and House Hockey Director Pat Brownlee for keeping things going on the ice. You can see them in action during our annual coach game taking place on March 16 at 530p.

And the biggest thank you goes to our players and families - thank you for your effort and support of your teams, thank you for getting your players to practices and games on time (often through suboptimal weather conditions), and thank you for sitting in a cold hockey rink cheering your players on.  

While all of us work hard to make Evanston Hockey the best program around, we do understand that there is always room for improvement. To that end, look for a survey coming out in the next few weeks where we would like to get your feedback. We will carefully review that information as a Board and with our Hockey Directors.

Finally, spring season registration is open and we would love to have your player continue to have fun on the ice and further their skill development during this 2 month season. Learn more about the spring season and register here.

Good luck to our all of our teams in their post-season playoffs or tournaments. 

Go Kits!

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Congrats to all Hockey Days Raffle Winners
by posted 01/27/2019


Hockey Days in Evanston 2019

Congrats to All Raffle Winners

A big thank you to everyone who helped make Hockey Days in Evanston 2019 our best one yet! Together, we raised more than $7,200 to support player financial aid.

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who purchased a raffle ticket and congratulations to all of our winners! If your name is listed below, please contact Marina Marich at marinadobro@yahoo.com to claim your prize (if you haven't already received them).

$25 Raffle Item Winners

  • Blackhawks Tickets: Stacy Reynolds
  • Grunnah Power Skating Summer Skate Camp: Marie Dickey
  • City of Evanston Summer Hockey Camp: Charity Corbett
  • Personalized Brick for New Robert Crown: Shelly Greco
  • Yeti Cooler: Shelly Greco


$10 Raffle Item Winners

  • Northwestern Football Tickets: Kenedi Mrozik
  • Northwestern Basketball Tickets: Graciela Val & Jason Keyser
  • Cubs Tickets: Geneine Dietz
  • Hydrafacial: Stacy Reynolds
  • Helmet & Skate Sharpening: Chris Kobem
  • Evanston Hockey Bag: Shelly Greco
  • Evanston Hockey Spirit Package: Kenedi Mrozik
  • Pizza & Dodge Ball Party with Coaches: Stacey Efstathiou
  • Fortnite Bundle: Xander Roberts
  • Yeti Dog Bowls: Eliza Lillybridge & George Carpenter
  • Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie: Katie Smith, Kenedi Mrozik, Conor Bediz, Ann Auriemma & Bryn Clair

 

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14U Kidd Wins Big Bear Tournament
by posted 01/21/2019


14U Kidd Wins Big Bear Tournament

14U Kidd Wins Big Bear Tournament

14U Kidd had a fantastic 3:0:1 Big Bear Tournament in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Per tournament rules there were two 13 minutes periods, and one 16 minute third period adding up to a lot of time on the ice! 

The games started off with a solid 10-2 win on Saturday, and the team kept the energy going for a 3-3 tie Sunday morning. It was a rough play game Sunday evening, with several penalties and one of our defensemen benched in the second period after a very hard near-concussion hit. Still, 14U Kidd prevailed with a 2-1 victory sealing its spot in the championship game. With a full bench, the team played a rematch against the Rattlers -- the team they previously tied. The Wildkits scored high in the first half of the game, and only let in one goal for a 5-1 championship victory! Goalie Alton Daley was named tournament MVP.

Fun was had by all, both on and off the ice. Even family out of state could watch the games on LiveBarn. Big thank yous are due to coaches Deon & Pete for getting the team honed to a well oiled machine! And thanks to Hockey Director Del Morris for keeping the team’s spirits and good sportsmanship at peak performance for the win!

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10U Kahn Takes Second at K-Wings Mid-Winter Classic
by posted 01/21/2019


10U Kahn Takes Second at K-Wings Mid-Winter Classic

10U Kahn Takes Second at K-Wings Mid-Winter Classic

The 10U Kahn team took a well deserved break from a tough regular season schedule to try their hand in the K-Wings Mid-Winter Classic in Kalamazoo. Our Kits Jumped out quickly with 4-2 and 7-1 wins over Michigan teams from Royal Oak and USA Spirit. On Sunday the kits topped a rough and determined Irish Rovers team 2-1 before dropping the last of 4 pool-play games to the Macomb Mavericks 1-3. With 9 points in hand and a second place finish these kits punched a ticket to the championship game where they would face a determined and long benched Orland Park Vikes #2 team.

One of many highlights this weekend and yet another indication of how our coaches and program celebrate the game, respect and sportsmanship 10U Kahn assistant coach Declan Hartnett rewarded these Kits for their well earned berth in the final game with some style. Our Kits arrived to a fully set home team locker room courtesy of Coach Hartnett and the Western Michigan University Hockey team, including a peek at the newly minted Hartnett Award Winner for 2018. Our Kits enjoyed further home ice advantage as the full current roster of Western Michigan Men's Hockey team helped our fans fill the stands and cheered our kits throughout the final.

Our Kits jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the 1st period, though the Vikes fought back in the 2nd period trading goals with our Kits until the last minutes of the 3rd when a go ahead goal for the Vikes at 5-4 could not be matched. After an outstanding weekend of hockey our Kits bring home a runner-up title and second place in the A division from the 1st Annual Mid-Winter K-Wings Classic. I think we'll be back for this one next season!

Thank you to our parents, players and especially our coaches for a memorable weekend.

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Coach and Player of the Month Winners
by posted 01/12/2019


Evanston Hockey Coach Hannah Bergom and 10U Player Wyatt Ghate named coach and player of the month

Coach and Player of the Month Winners for January

As part of its partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance, Evanston Hockey is recognizing players and coaches who honor the game. Congratulations to our January winners: Coach Hannah Bergom and Player Wyatt Ghate.

Coach of the Month – Hannah Bergom
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 Hannah, who assists the 14U Girls’ team, was nominated because she “sets a great example for our team of what can happen if we stick with hockey. She even invited us to watch one of her games, which was a very cool experience for us to see a college women's hockey game and what we can do someday if we continue hockey. Her drills are always fun and easy to understand and she always has lots of encouragement for us. She takes her coaching very seriously but also has a fun side, which makes her a fun coach to be around. She helps Zach coach our team in a positive way and they make a great coaching team.”

Another nomination for Coach Hannah stated, “She always encourages us to play our best and she always stays positive. Her drills make sense and she’s a great example of how we could be if we stick with hockey. Even though she’s busy, she always finds time for our practices and games.”

Player of the Month – Wyatt Ghate
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. 

10U player Wyatt Ghate was recognized for going above and beyond every practice and every game.

Wyatt was nominated by several teammates, who stated, “I am nominating him because he has a really hard shot, he plays really good D and he does drills right. He has a good attitude in the locker room and he says positive things."

Another added: “He is a very good listener. Also he is a really good skater. Also he is nice and says good things about everyone.”

They also said that Wyatt “works hard and never gives up on the ice or on his team. He also encourages everybody to keep trying their best. Wyatt fills people’s tanks. Wyatt can also be funny sometimes, but whenever he is on the ice he is concentrated.”

Way to go Coach Hannah and Wyatt! 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 February.

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 February nominations are due Feb. 5.

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Hockey Days in Evanston: Volunteers Needed
by posted 01/11/2019


Hockey Days in Evanston Takes Place Jan. 25-26; Sign Up to Help

Hockey Days Volunteers Needed

With Hockey Days in Evanston only ONE WEEK away, it's time to fill in all of our volunteer slots to ensure a successful event. Currently, we have 22 of 86 slots filled -- so we have some ways to go.

This can also be a great opportunity for HS kids looking to fulfill some community service hour requirements.

SIGN UP TODAY: http://signup.com/go/jvLiDpa

A BIG thank you to the team of people working behind the scenes to make all of this possible:

Andy Bediz
Jordana Binstock
Alex Bird
Stephanie Davis
Susan Felts
Liz Finnamore
Zorina Granjean
Mike Kupfer
Beth Morgan
Gretchen Nord
Aimee Val
Stuart Wick

Also, this event wouldn't be as amazing as it is without our sponsors. Please take a moment to check out our sponsors, thank them and frequent their place of business. http://evanstonhockey.com/Page.asp?n=150145&org=WW3.EVANSTONHOCKEY.COM

Evanston Hockey is fortunate to have dedicated parents and supporters who make our organization the best it can be! Go Kits!

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Getting Ready for Spring, Recognizing Girls HS Seniors
by posted 01/11/2019


Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris

Director’s Message: Getting Ready for Spring, Recognizing Girls HS Seniors

Even though there's snow on the ground, we've got spring on our minds!

The regular travel and house seasons wrap up in March and then the spring hockey season will begin. Similar to last year, our youth spring program will offer dedicated skills weeks for power skating, shooting/scoring and defensive play along with weekly scrimmages to focus on small area games. New this year, we will also have weekly team practices to help the teams come together more before their first games. Youth teams will play in two local tournaments or one local tournament and four league games. Our spring program is designed to sharpen 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.

We also have opportunities for our high school players and I encourage all eligible players to participate in this fun season. On the boys high school side, our varsity team will play in a tournament and games while our JV team will play in some league games. Our girls HS team participates in a fun 3-vs-3 program for spring.

Speaking of our girls HS team, during Hockey Days in Evanston (Jan. 25-26), we will recognize and honor our graduating seniors from the Evanston Hockey girls high school team. Each of them has grown up playing hockey in our program – they have made us all proud. Beyond the wins and losses, the lessons that they have learned and the friendships that they have made will last a lifetime.

Girls Senior Night is Saturday, Jan. 26, and will honor the graduating seniors from the Evanston Hockey girls high school team. The girls play against Lake Forest Academy at 6:10 p.m. There will be a special ceremony immediately before the game recognizing the graduating seniors. I hope you will consider coming to this game and giving these players a standing ovation as we recognize them. 

Girls Senior Night is also the culmination of Hockey Days in Evanston (Jan. 25-26) 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.

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Plenty of Hockey Left to Play
by posted 01/10/2019


Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap

Plenty of Hockey Left to Play

Hockey weather has definitely arrived! And if any of you have backyard rinks, I am sure you have enjoyed the colder temperatures that have gotten 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. 25-26, where all of our house, travel and high school teams will be in action. Saturday, Jan. 26 will also be our Girls High School Senior Night, and we encourage all in our Evanston Hockey community to come out in full force to support our Seniors on the team.

Hockey Days in Evanston is our annual event where we raise money for our financial aid program. We would like to thank all of our sponsors and our parent organizers. There are still plenty of opportunities to help with both big and small roles needed to fill. 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 continue with our skill-based practice program, and 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. Read more about our spring program here.

Finally, I would encourage anyone with the time and interest to apply to our Evanston Hockey Boards of Directors. The deadline to apply is Feb. 8. The Board of Directors is the group of volunteers that works with Hockey Director Del Morris to carry out the administrative work of the program. If you have specific questions regarding the Board, please feel free to contact me directly, or speak with any of our current Board members.

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

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Evanston Hockey All-Stars Named
by posted 12/19/2018


Evanston Hockey All-Stars (l-r) Andrew Cousineau, Gabi Rodriguez, Will Bodine and Andrew McDermott

Evanston Hockey All-Stars Named

Four Evanston Hockey Wildkits have been named to the 2019 All-Star Varsity and JV games, which take place Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, at [NEW LOCATION] West Meadows Ice Arena, 3939 Winnetka Ave. in Rolling Meadows. Admission is free and everyone is welcome!

Will Bodine and Andrew McDermott will be playing in the JV game at [NEW TIME] 4:30 p.m. Playing in the Varsity game at [NEW TIME] 7:50 p.m. are Andrew Cousineau and Gabi Rodriguez.

Players are selected based on their leadership, teammates and on-ice play. Coaches also factor in who will represent Evanston with pride, respect and high skill level.

In response to being named an All-Star, Will Bodine said, "It’s an honor to be named to the all star team and I look forward to representing Evanston Hockey.Thanks to my coaches and teammates for giving me this opportunity."

Bodine started playing hockey as an 8U (mite) player and he and McDermott have played together since they were 10U (squirt) players.

McDermott echoed those sentiments and said, "It's such an honor to be named an All Star for Evanston Hockey. There are plenty of deserving players in our team who easily could have been chosen. It's a great surprise and I'm thankful to all of my teammates and coaches who have helped me along the way."

All-Stars Andrew Cousineau and Gabi Rodriguez share a unique bond -- having been teammates since their 8U (mite) playing days and being neighbors.

Rodriguez said, "It's a true honor. There's nothing I've been looking forward to more than this. Couzy and I have been waiting for this since we were mites. It’s a great opportunity to help put Evanston hockey on the map."

Added Cousineau: "It means that I get an opportunity to represent not only the high school program, but also the very special youth program that has supported me since I was a mite."

Be sure to congratulate our All-Stars, and come out to support your Evanston Hockey Wildkits during the All-Star game.

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Coach and Player of the Month Winners
by posted 12/13/2018


Evanston Hockey Coach Alex Bird and JV Player Tyler Bryan named coach and player of the month

Coach and Player of the Month Winners

As part of its partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance, Evanston Hockey is recognizing players and coaches who honor the game. Congratulations to our December winners: Coach Alex Bird and Player Tyler Bryan.

Coach of the Month – Alex Bird
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 Alex, who leads the 10U Blue house team, was nominated because he “is such a motivating leader and spirit-maker for this group of young athletes. As a parent, I see him connecting on a level that’s above and beyond. Being new this year to Evanston Hockey, his presence along with Coach Dunlap, was welcoming and positive and he instantly made my skaters feel right at home...instant happiness.” 

“He also recently provided each player an evaluation in person and on paper. As a parent of kids who play rec league and travel sports, I’ve never actually seen this done. The fact that he’s doing it for house hockey is an enormously impressive gesture which shows his passion for the sport and for making a positive impact on these kids.”

Another nomination for Coach Alex stated, “Alex is an incredibly positive coach. He shows tremendous enthusiasm for the game and for his players. He is often the loudest person on the bench cheering after his team scores a goal! He is encouraging and offers players frequent praise for their effort and execution. Alex also pushes each player to do their very best, offering positive, constructive teaching during practice and when a player returns to the bench during a game. I feel very fortunate that my child has Alex as a coach this year!”

Quotes from 10U Blue players:
“Coach Bird makes practice fun and you learn things that way.”
“I like him because he asks ‘Does this make sense to everyone?’ When we don’t answer he explains it a different way and then we all get it.”
“He’s nice and calm, especially during games.”
“He is funny and we play fun games at practice. He helps me get better.”
“He pushes me, but in good way. He’s always nice about it. He’s a fun coach.”
“He doesn’t care if we win or lose, just that we play hard.”

Player of the Month – Tyler Bryan
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. 

JV player Tyler Bryan was recognized for going above and beyond every practice and every game. 

Tyler was nominated by teammates, who stated, “Tyler is a great team leader. He knows when to be serious and when to have a good time. He is a role model to everyone on and off the ice. For example, at our tournament he was making sure everybody knew what time to be down in the lobby or at breakfast. It’s great to have someone like that on our team. No matter what line he is on he is the hardest worker on the ice and will never give up on a play. Tyler is willing to sacrifice himself for the team’s greater good. He is a great teammate and always makes sure everyone is involved. He puts in 100% effort during practice, dry land training and games plus also motivates the team to do so as well.”  

“He is a great teammate on and off the ice. Every week he offers to drive kids to off ice. He’s a good leader on the team who brings great effort to practice and games.”

Way to go Coach Alex and Tyler! 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 January.

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 January nominations are due Jan. 1.

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Sponsor Feature: Hagerty Consulting
by posted 12/12/2018


Evanston Hockey sponsor Hagerty Consulting in action

Sponsor Feature: Hagerty Consulting

Evanston Hockey is grateful to our sponsors who make it possible for us to fulfill our non-profit organization’s mission to provide all children the opportunity to play hockey in a diverse program rooted in skills, leadership and character development along with sportsmanship and camaraderie.

We sat down recently to learn more about sponsor Hagerty Consulting and hockey dad (and Evanston Mayor) Steve Hagerty.

Tell us about yourself, where did you grow up?
I grew up in Attleboro, Massachusetts, which used to be the jewelry capital of the world until Balfour and Jostens moved overseas. I spent my childhood growing up on my family’s hobby farm, playing sports, working as a paperboy for the Sun Chronicle, and playing with my neighborhood friends.

Were you involved in youth activities? If so, what were they and what is your best memory from those activities?
I was very active in the YMCA and 4-H growing up. These two youth development organizations were instrumental in my childhood development. At the Y, I would play flag football and basketball. I played little league baseball through the Babe Ruth League. In high school, I played sports every season, including football, swimming, spring track, and even girls’ field hockey. 

Tell us something about your company. 
Hagerty Consulting helps communities to prepare for and recover from disasters. We have the good fortune of assisting people at the time when they really need the help of government. Currently, we are supporting the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to provide a mass care/human services mission. Our team has been deployed since early October to assist an ongoing mass care operation related to the September natural gas explosions. We’re helping to set up and run temporary shelters while the gas company is fixing its pipeline. 

Why did you want to sponsor Evanston Hockey?
In addition to my own fond memories of playing youth sports, my son Garrett loves hockey. I’ll never forget the year the Blackhawks lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins, and Garrett cried himself to sleep. Hockey means a lot to him and, in turn, is important to our entire family. Moreover, a big part of my company’s mission is to give back, and I feel as though it’s especially important for my company to be invested in Evanston because Evanston has offered so much to so many who live, work and play here.

Tell us something people may not know about you and/or what interests do you have outside of supporting youth hockey or your job.
I’m fairly dedicated to both my work at the City and at Hagerty. I have no musical talent, but I always say that once I’m no longer so busy professionally, I’ll finally learn to play the piano.

Learn more about Hagerty Consulting here: http://hagertyconsulting.com/

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Sponsor Feature: Grunnah Power Skating + Hockey School
by posted 12/12/2018


Evanston Hockey sponsor Christian Grunnah in action

Sponsor Feature: Grunnah Power Skating + Hockey School

Evanston Hockey is grateful to our sponsors who make it possible for us to fulfill our non-profit organization’s mission to provide all children the opportunity to play hockey in a diverse program rooted in skills, leadership and character development along with sportsmanship and camaraderie.

We sat down recently to learn more about sponsor Grunnah Power Skating + Hockey School and hockey coach Christian Grunnah

Tell us about yourself, where did you grow up?
I am a native of the Chicago area, and grew up here for a short time in my youth, but also lived and played hockey in many places around the U.S., including New York, Texas, Colorado, and North Carolina. I ultimately ended up at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minnesota to finish out my final two years of high school. 

Were you involved in youth activities? If so, what were they and what is your best memory from those activities?
I played hockey from age five, initially learning to skate at Glenview Ice Center from Sylvain Turcotte (who still coaches there!) and from my father, a national champion speed skater. I have many great memories having started playing from such a young age, but one lasting impression was seeing my first Blackhawks game at the old Chicago Stadium against the Winnipeg Jets. Jeremy Roenick scored four goals that game and would from then on be my favorite player. It was certainly a night to remember!  

Tell us something about your company. 
Grunnah Power Skating + Hockey School, or “GPS Hockey,” is a premier skating and skills training company offering private lessons, small group training, drop-in skills sessions, camps and clinics both locally to the greater Chicago area, as well as throughout the United States. We help skaters identify and fine-tune their strengths while addressing weaknesses in order to become unique and complete hockey players. Our method develops the entire player, offering advanced techniques in all aspects of on-ice performance. Our training is designed to give players more tools for direct in-game application both with and without the puck, while developing confidence to play at increasingly higher levels of competition. We don’t just train the body, but the entire individual to perform to their maximum potential. 

We have weekly drop-in skills sessions at Robert Crown on Mondays 4-5pm, as well as private or small group lessons opportunities throughout the year. 

Why did you want to sponsor Evanston Hockey?
So much of our success is owed to Evanston Hockey, in helping to promote our training offerings and giving us an opportunity to share our expertise with the players during weekly skills practices and Sunday power skating sessions. Also, Evanston Hockey gave me my start as a youth hockey coach in Chicago, so I am both happy and proud to support the association in any way possible.

Tell us something people may not know about you and/or what interests do you have outside of supporting youth hockey or your job.
I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre from Skidmore College and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting from the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theatre Institute of Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University. 

Learn more about Grunnah Power Skating + Hockey School: www.gpshockeyschool.com

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Coach Feature: Declan Hartnett
by posted 12/11/2018


Evanston Hockey Coach Declan Hartnett as a youth player

Coach Goes Above and Beyond On and Off the Ice

Every athlete hopes to win an award for athletic accomplishments — but how many do you know who have an award named after them? That’s exactly what happened when Declan Hartnett finished his college playing career at Western Michigan University and received The Hartnett Award, which was named after him and is given to a player who goes above and beyond for his teammates on and off the ice.

“To this day, it has been the greatest honor I have ever received,” said Coach Declan, a new Evanston Hockey assistant coach at the 10U level. This is his first fall season as a coach with some previous spring hockey coaching experience.

Although he’s a relatively new coach, he has a sage coaching philosophy and advice for parents.

“[I want] to teach young players how to play the game the right way while also having fun,” Coach Declan said. “[Parents should] let kids have fun and enjoy the game. Today too many parents think they have to push their kids in order for them to continue onto higher levels, but at younger ages the focus should be on making sure the kids are having fun and developing their skills.”

Coach Declan grew up on the south side of Chicago and started playing hockey when he was four years old. He played his youth years with the St. Jude Knights and Varsity hockey at Mt. Carmel High School. During his senior year of high school, he signed a Junior A contract with the Minnesota Owls. He moved away from home and lived with a billet family while playing for the Owls and attending high school at the local public school. When the Owls were knocked out of the playoffs, he transferred back to Mt. Carmel so that he could graduate from Mt. Carmel. He continued his hockey career at Western Michigan University where the forward played four full seasons in the ACHA Division 1 reaching the National Tournament his Junior season.

He says his best memory from playing hockey as a youth player is when his team won a President’s Cup banner during his final 14U season. He hopes that sharing his experience as a player could help other players. 

“I was by no means a ‘skilled’ hockey player,” said Coach Declan, who is a mortgage consultant. “As I grew up and my career took me to higher levels of hockey, I quickly learned I needed to find ways to make myself valuable. I focused on and off the ice to be the best teammate I could and was willing to do the things most guys wouldn’t.

“Because of this, I hope to share some of my experiences and struggles as a player with younger hockey players and show them that being a great teammate in the end goes much further than any individual statistics or achievements people tend to focus on.”

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Coach Feature: Hannah Bergom
by posted 12/11/2018


Evanston Hockey Coach Hannah Bergom as a youth player

Hockey is Fundamental Family Activity for Coach

Minnesota-native Hannah Bergom knew her dad played hockey in college. But he never pressured his kids into playing and wanted to be sure they chose the sport on their own. For Hannah, that time came in fourth grade and she’s never stopped playing.

“Hockey is so fundamental for my entire family,” said Coach Hannah, who is an assistant coach for the Evanston Hockey girls 14U team. “It’s what we all come back to. Even though I don’t get to go home often while I’m in school, I stream as many of my brother’s games as I can to support him just like he did for me when I was in high school.”

Coach Hannah played for her Eagan, Minn., youth and high school teams and currently attends Loyola University Chicago where she’s the president and captain of the LUC Women’s Ice Hockey ACHA DII team. She began volunteering as a coach to get her LUC team involved in communities around campus and to help motivate and coach younger players to play hockey.

“At the end of the day, hockey is about having fun and while competition is a great part of the game, I want kids to remember that they play hockey because it’s fun,” Coach Hannah said. “Their work ethic and drive to improve will result from that foundation.”

Her favorite memory on the ice is when she went to the Minnesota State High School Hockey tournament during her freshman and sophomore years of high school. She and her teammates played at the Excel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild, and also at Ritter Arena, home of the University of Minnesota women’s team.

Coach Hannah is a senior and pre-med major at LUC although she’s thinking about going into teaching. She is already teaching the Wildkits and other hockey players some important life lessons along with experiencing some of her proudest coaching moments as well.

“Any time I see a player improve,” Coach Hannah said. “Whether that is teaching a player to skate for the first time, successfully doing a drill or winning a game.

“It’s the moment when they look at you with the biggest smile that says ‘I did it!’ That’s why I coach.”

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Save the Date: Girls Senior Night is Jan. 26
by posted 12/10/2018


Save the Date: Girls Senior Night is Jan. 26

Save the Date: Girls Senior Night is Jan. 26

Evanston Hockey will honor its graduating seniors from the girls high school team during Hockey Days in Evanston (Jan. 25-26) – be sure to mark your calendars and join us for a special presentation.

The girls team will play Saturday, Jan. 26 in the evening with a pre-game ceremony to honor the ETHS graduating seniors who have been playing hockey with Evanston since they were 8U (mite) players.

All Evanston Hockey and Evanston Junior Wildkits players are invited to help celebrate by forming a human tunnel to welcome the girls HS seniors onto the ice. More details will be shared closer to the date.

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12U Kidd Wins Wishbone Invitational
by posted 12/10/2018


12U Kidd Wins Wishbone Invitational

12U Kidd Wins Wishbone Invitational

12U Kidd went 4-0 and skated away with the 12U, A2 division trophy at the Northbrook-Winnetka Wishbone Invitational tournament during the Thanksgiving weekend.

The team gelled on the ice over the weekend. Coaches Deon Kidd and Greg Sprenzel have been working on team hockey skills in practice lately. The extra work seemed to pay off.

In all four games, the team was able to get the puck in the offensive zone and keep it there for long stretches. They were often first to the puck. They used those skills to down the Ice Dogs, Northbrook and the Express. 

The final was a rematch with the Ice Dogs. The Kits jumped out early, with two goals in the first minute of play. The Dogs evened the score before the end of the first period. The Kits found their legs again, and restored the two-goal cushion in short order. The final score was 5-2. Lots of smiles followed.

It made the 7am Friday game at Glacier worth it.

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Director's Message: Staying Fit During the Holidays
by posted 12/09/2018


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.

Tips to Stay Fit

Skate. During the upcoming winter break, Evanston Hockey has a modified practice schedule between Dec. 27-Jan. 2. Check the master calendar for exact days and times. As of Jan. 3, 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 will be led by some Evanston Hockey coaches. Learn more here.

Watch. Staying fit includes always learning by watching hockey being played at the highest levels. Even if you can’t make it to the Winter Classic in South Bend, I encourage you to set aside some time to watch 2-3 NHL games on TV from start to finish.

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.

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Hockey Days in Evanston: Sponsorship & Raffle Opportunities
by posted 12/09/2018


Hockey Days in Evanston: Sponsorship & Raffle Opportunities

Hockey Days in Evanston: Sponsorship & Raffle Opportunities

We want to let our families know about special sponsorship and raffle opportunities for Hockey Days in Evanston. This year, Hockey Days will take place Jan. 25-26, 2019. At this free event, more than 400 Evanston Hockey players take the ice to play in back-to-back games over one and a half days. All house, travel and high schools teams are scheduled to participate!

Sponsors help us keep this event free and raffle prizes help us raise money to support player financial aid.

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! Evanston Hockey is a non-profit (tax ID: 23-7380547) 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.

With your tax-deductible sponsorship contribution of $250 to our Hockey Days in Evanston community event, Evanston Hockey will provide the following acknowledgments: 

  • Company logo on a sponsor board at the entrance to the event and in printed programs that will be handed out at Robert Crown Community Center, Evanston’s most heavily utilized community center
  • Company name in the monthly e-newsletter that is sent out to more than 1,000 email addresses of Evanston Hockey families as well as friends in the community
  • Company name on Evanston Hockey website and Facebook page
  • Announcement at the event 

Please note that there are also in-kind sponsorship opportunities available. All sponsors must be confirmed by Jan. 11, 2019 in order to be printed in our event materials.

If you are interested in being a sponsor or have any questions, please contact Stephanie Davis at .    

Raffle Opportunities

Do you have season tickets to a Chicago sports team or cultural activity and would be willing to donate them as a raffle item? We’re looking for unique raffle prizes to help raise money during Hockey Days to support player financial aid. Help more kids play this great game of hockey!

If you are interested in donating a raffle prize, please contact Liz Finnamore at .

Thank you for your consideration and for all you do to make Evanston Hockey a great organization!

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President's Message: Happy Holidays
by posted 12/08/2018


Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap

Happy Holidays to Our Evanston Wildkit Families

It’s been a great four months of hockey – hard to believe how quickly the time flies. It was fun to see so many of you at our Boys Varsity Senior Night ceremony. Look for our Girls High School Senior Night ceremony as part of the upcoming Hockey Days in Evanston event Jan. 25-26 where all of our teams will be in action. 

Many of our graduating seniors are in their 13th year in a Wildkit uniform! It may be hard to envision our younger players growing up to be seniors, but it happens in the blink of an eye.

The great game of hockey has provided all of our players a vehicle to become better people. It’s said that the on-ice experience is what we as parents likely remember about our kids’ hockey “careers,” but if you talk to the players, they better recall all of the good times off the ice. The camaraderie at practices, tournaments, car pools, sleepovers tend to be remembered long after they’ve laced their skates up for the last time. But they also get to learn great lessons that the game teaches: how to win, how to lose, how to work together towards a common goal, how to be a good teammate; we’re grateful for our coaches who help teach these lessons.

I hope you and your families have a wonderful holiday season. Enjoy a few days away from the rink, and we’ll see you back at Crown in the New Year!

Go Kits!

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President's Message: Half-Way Finished; Full-Time Fun
by posted 11/19/2018


Evanston Hockey President Brad Dunlap

Half-Way Finished; Full-Time Fun

Hard to believe but we have nearly 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 as we have games and events on Friday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Jan. 26. Look for further communication regarding this fun and community building event.

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. 

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!

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Coach and Player of the Month Winners
by posted 11/18/2018


Evanston Hockey Coach Jimmy Kahn and JV Player Oliver Richard named coach and player of the month

Congratulations to Coach and Player of the Month Winners for November

As part of its partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance, Evanston Hockey is recognizing players and coaches who honor the game. Congratulations to our November winners: Coach Jimmy Kahn and Player Oliver Richard.

Coach of the Month – Jimmy Kahn
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 Jimmy, who leads a 10U and 14U travel team, was nominated because he "embodies the true spirit of a positive coach. When players return to the bench after a shift, he offers constructive criticism if a player needs to improve on something and offers praise when players execute correctly. During practices, he does the same thing. And he does this without raising his voice or yelling unnecessarily."

Further, the nomination stated, "Never have we been in the stands and heard Coach Jimmy yelling at a player or referee. He is always respectful in his disagreements with referee calls, asking for explanations and never blaming the ref."

"The players respect him -- and his unbelievable knowledge of the game -- and want to work hard for him day in and day out." Evanston Hockey is lucky to have someone of Coach Jimmy's caliber on the ice with our players.

Player of the Month – Oliver Richard

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. 

JV player Oliver Richard was recognized for going above and beyond every practice and every game. 

Oliver was nominated by several teammates, who stated, "Every day Oliver shows up to practice with a positive attitude and is ready to play. Off the ice he is a great person to be around and puts everyone in a good mood. On the ice he always tries his hardest no matter the drill."

"Despite his lack of ice time he is the most enthusiastic kid on our team. He has filled everyone one of our tanks at one point or another."

"He has shown that he can hype the team up before games and shows incredible grit on the ice. Even if he messes up on one shift he will come right back the next and work even harder. Despite him being one of the smallest players on the ice, he still uses his body to separate the man from the puck."

"He brings a certain level of competition and compassion to all things hockey related, he is one of the loudest most supportive players on the bench during games. He brings his whole self to practices and games, he is always ready to play."

Way to go Coach Jimmy and Oliver! 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 December.

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 December nominations are due Dec. 4.

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Maximize On-Ice Performance with Off-Ice Training
by posted 11/18/2018


Evanston Hockey Director Del Morris

Maximize On-Ice Performance with Off-Ice Training

A big part of a player’s success on the ice can be attributed to hard work off the ice.

Evanston Hockey has partnered with Precision Multisport in Evanston to offer a customized off-ice training program for our players. In addition to providing an overview of the program, I want to also stress some of the expectations.

Overall, the program is designed to develop core strength that improves areas such as puck control and puck protection; stride quickness and stride power; shot power; and the ability to ward off opposing players when playing the body. In addition, the off-ice training regimen also boosts young athletes’ confidence, which helps with the mental aspect of the game as well. Each session is led by myself or JP Bordeleau, co-owner of Precision Multisport and a former hockey director for Evanston Hockey.

In order for players to maximize the off-ice program experience, I’ve outlined a few expectations.

Expectation 1: Kids must work hard. Off-ice is not recess or gym class. I have asked coaches to remind kids that off-ice requires the same hard work, focus and dedication as when they are on the ice. It is worth reinforcing this with your kids.

Expectation 2: Kids should arrive less than five minutes before their scheduled start time. Unlike on-ice practices, the off-ice sessions require no time to get ready before we start the training. In addition, parents should arrive five minutes before practice ends to pick up their child.

Expectation 3: Kids must wear an Evanston Hockey dry-fit shirt and appropriate gym shoes and shorts/athletic pants. They should also bring a water bottle as hydration is important.

Expectation 4: Kids are required to go to off-ice. If your child is unable to make it, he/she should contact me (del@evanstonhockey.com or 847-894-1521) and their child's coach. Missing off-ice is the same as missing an on-ice practice, and could result in consequences consistent with the coach's policy. Currently, all Varsity, JV and travel players are required to attend the off-ice sessions at Precision Multisport. We’re open to expanding the program to all players if there’s enough interest.

I hope the information above helps explain the expectations we have for our off-ice program. Our partnership with Precision gives our program an advantage over other clubs and we want your child to get the most out of it. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out.

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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.

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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.

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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 .
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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. 

 

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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!

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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!!

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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 -- for January 2019, deadline is Monday, Jan. 7.

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.

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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!

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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!

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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 

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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 .

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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.

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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!

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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!

 

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

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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
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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.

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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!”

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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!  

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

 

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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.”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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Coach Feature: Making the Right Move
by posted 01/20/2017


Evanston Hockey Coach Ray Ewing as a Youth Hockey Player

Coach Feature: Making the Right Move

Ray Ewing started coaching 20 years ago for the pure love of the game. Being able to pass on the joy to younger players is his goal as a coach. Today, Coach Ray, a USA Hockey level four certified coach who has been coaching with Evanston Hockey for eight years, coaches at the Bantam (U14) and Varsity levels. 

“The game has given me so much it’s only right to pass things forward,” Ewing explained. “And stay involved as long as possible.”

Growing up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, he has been playing hockey since he was six years old. He doesn’t remember quite how he began to play but remembers his older brother wanting to play. 

“I’m thinking my parents kind of forced me into playing due to the fact they were going to be at the rink anyway,” Ewing recalled. “I wasn’t a big fan of the game for my first couple of practices but my dad wouldn’t allow me to quit.”

Ever since, he has been able to play hockey at every level. He had played youth hockey through high school before playing in junior hockey for the Boston Junior Bruins from 2000-2001 and then Lowell Junior Lock Monsters the following year.

After playing juniors, he went on to New England College in Henniker, NH, and played from 2002-2006. He graduated there with a bachelor’s degree in communications.

“I was lucky to enough to play four years at New England College, Division III ECAC East,” Ewing said. “Then I finished it off playing in Sweden for the Kungsbacka Kings from 2006 to 2008.”

His favorite memory comes from being a Squirt (U10). His coach, Mike Bartley, moved him to play center for the first time.

“I scored really quick and loved every second of it,” Ewing said. “From that point on something clicked in my head and I saw the game completely different. I think Coach Bartley made the right move.”

Fast forward to the present, at Evanston Hockey, one of the best things about coaching is when the parents let coaches be the coach.  

“I’ve been lucky enough to have parents that allow me to push their child to try,” Ewing said. “I’m a tough coach, without a doubt, and it makes my job much easier when the parents see the value in a non-excuse approach and the value of hard work, dedication and teamwork.”

His only advice for parents are to have their children set personal goals, stress hard work and let them have fun. 

“Hockey is a game where you learn so much more about yourself and life than you’d ever anticipate,” Ewing said.

His coaching philosophy is to let the puck do the work.

“The puck moves faster than anyone can skate, so pass and share the puck,” Ewing said. “The only aspect of the game you have complete control over is your effort.”

Fun Facts:

  • His favorite player is Pavel Datsyuk from the Russian National Ice Hockey Team
  • He has a Siberian Husky named Keystone
  • He is a freelance web developer and a student
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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!

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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.
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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!

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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!

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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.

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