Students at Lake Forest High School did not need a calendar to find out when the school’s boys hockey team played its games this winter.
All they had to do was notice the players’ choice of clothing on Game Days.
And it was impossible not to notice the togs.
“Gross suit, gross tie,” Scouts senior captain and left wing Ryan Gattari said after a playoff game last week. “We all wear ugly stuff on the days we play. You should have seen what I wore to school today [March 1]. It was a suit I bought at a thrift shop. It’s green and mustard yellow. Has some blue in it, too.
“Special,” he added, as his grin widened. “It was a special look.”
But New Trier Green’s brand of hockey was too stylish and attractive — special, in another context — for LFHS to overcome in the second round of the Amateur Hockey Association Illinois (AHAI) state playoffs at Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville.
Reigning state champion and first-seeded NT Green struck for three goals in the first five minutes of the opening period en route to a 7-0 victory.
LFHS (11-15-5), seeded 17th, had defeated 16th-seeded Naperville Central 6-3 in a first-round game on Feb. 22.
“I thought we’d get one [goal] against New Trier,” said the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Gattari, a three-year LFHS varsity hockey player and a fullback for the school’s varsity football team in his junior and senior seasons. “But it was still fun to be out there on the ice.”
Gattari and classmate Jack Barbour, a center, were named to the AHAI all-state team. Each played against other stars in the AHAI all-state game at Edge Ice Arena on Feb. 13.
Gattari and Barbour were 1-2 in scoring among Scouts in the 2016-17 season.
“I was kind of surprised I made the all-state team,” admitted the 6-foot, 165-pound Barbour, a highly skilled player who was probably alone in that assessment. “It was an honor, a great experience.”
Barbour — a first-year LFHS player, after opting to play for high-end Falcons club teams during the past three winters — also was named an alternate to the Illinois team that will compete April 20-24 at America’s Showcase in Pittsburgh.
“I convinced Jack to come out for high school hockey at one of our summer skates at Hot Shot [Ice Arena in Lake Bluff],” said Gattari, a wicked-fast skater whose best career hockey game was a five-goal, three-assist barrage in a win against Libertyville last winter at Lake Forest College. “We all convinced him, really. We all wanted Jack to play for our team.
“Jack,” Gattari added, “went through four guys in a game this year and put the puck right on my stick. I was inches away from the goalie. Jack did that all the time.”
Scouts coach John Murphy got a kick out of his team’s consistent dress code on Game Days. Yes, it was more of an excuse to blend competing patterns of clothing than it was to display sartorial splendor, but it also promoted team camaraderie and got the word out about the Scouts’ game in a unique way.
“Loud, vibrant, busy … and plaid, lots of plaid — that’s how I’d describe what they wore on days we played,” a smiling Murphy said, adding Don Cherry — the longtime Canadian hockey commentator known for his garish suit jackets — would have likely applauded some of the Scouts’ delightfully appalling apparel selections. “Wearing those suits set a good tone, kept the guys close. Our leaders were great team guys, and guys like Ryan and Jack were fun to watch on the ice. Ryan and Jack shared the puck, set a good example for the team, and both represented the school incredibly well.”
Barbour plans to major in engineering (mechanical or electrical) or business at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and Gattari is considering the University of Illinois and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also has an interest in engineering.
“Maybe I’ll play frat hockey in college,” Gattari said.
But the gregarious teen had a more pressing concern after the playoff loss last week:
What to do with all of his free time for the rest of the school year.
“Maybe I’ll get a job,” he said.
You have all been warned, local thrift shop employees.
Notable: New Trier Green’s Daniel Hauser scored twice, and teammates Michael Graham and Matthew Mulhern had two assists apiece in the 7-0 defeat of Lake Forest High School in a second-round AHAI playoff game in Bensenville on March 1. Charlie Burton, Tristan Jones, Tommy Cahill, Kyle Retondo and Gavin Randle netted the other goals, while goaltender Scott Foster made 19 saves for Green (64-8), which won its 29th straight game; Green last lost a game on Dec. 10. … Lake Forest High School defenseman Patrick Krider thwarted a New Trier breakaway early in the second period and disrupted another rush shortly thereafter. … Ryan Gattari and defenseman Alex Riedel served as LFHS captains this winter, with forward Will Lincoln and defenseman Sam Yauch taking care of assistant captain duties.