More than 6,000 people were riveted by the back-and-forth pressure during the 10-minute overtime at the Illinois high school state championship at the United Center on Sunday afternoon. Finally, Glenbrook North High School’s Eric Doar placed a perfect pass on the stick of Joe Day. He lifted a backhand past Benet Academy’s goalie — right in front of a throng of the school’s fans who stood the entire game — to capture the boys’ state crown, 3-2.
The thrills didn’t end there. My sons and their two friends, all adorned in their youth hockey jerseys, strode onto the Blackhawks’ home ice for a picture with scores of other young players. No doubt everyone yearned to return there someday wearing the Indian head.
The state tournament (sponsored in part by the Blackhawks) was the best bargain in Chicago this month. For $5 a ticket and free parking, fans could hear tenor Jim Cornelison sing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” ask 2013 Stanley Cup champion Jamal Mayers to sign one’s jersey, choose any seat in the cavernous arena and enjoy the spectrum of Jumbotron entertainment usually reserved for Blackawks’ games. North Shore notables received awards, such as Tom Miller of the Falcons Hockey Association, named Youth Coach of the Year. And, oh yes, three state championship games (girls, boys, combined) were also included in the price of admission.
To win a state title is a stupendous achievement that creates a lifetime of memories. Just ask the 1965 Winter Club squad of Lake Forest, which marked the 50th anniversary of its accomplishment this month, or the 1968 team, which my brother Kirk played on (Chicago Minor Hawks’ parents demanded to see his birth certificate, believing no 14-year-old could be as tall as Bobby Hull). The boys of Glenbrook North — who had lost in the finals the previous two years — will never forget that roar as the title winner struck the net.
If you’re hungering to read more about the hockey championships, check out the vivid writing and engaging photos put together by the sports team of Kevin Reiterman, Bill McLean and Joel Lerner inside.
Enjoy the weekend.
Editor in Chief