Force Tryouts

The Chicago Force, the women’s professional football team in Chicago, will be holding more open tryouts. The next round of tryouts will be held on Saturday December 17th at Evanston Township High School, 1600 Dodge Avenue in Evanston. The tryouts will go from 1-3PM but participants are asked to come by 12:45PM.

The Force went undefeated during their regular season in 2011 and missed a shot at playing in their version of the Super Bowl when they lost in the last minutes to Boston in the semi finals. The Force feature arguably the best female football player in the world in Jessica Springer at running back and Sami Grisafe at quarterback and run a sophisticated spread offense.


Here’s Sami Grisafe showing off her talent, singing.


Lane wins league opener against Steinmetz 50-31

To say the basketball team at Lane (5-3, 1-0) was sluggish for three quarters in its Red North opener against Steinmetz (4-3, 0-1) would be an understatement. The Indians would able to build a 12-point lead despite 30 missed shots at the basket and 15 turnovers.

Lane started the final quarter by scoring 13 unanswered points to seal the section opener on the road at Steinmetz.

“In the beginning, we weren’t focused,” Lane guard Christian Aranez admitted after the win. “We weren’t playing Lane Tech basketball. After the third quarter, I told the guys let’s be the team we know we can be.”

Lane didn’t arrive until 4 pm while Steinmetz head coach Brad Dowling benched three starters for missing practice. Another factor was only one referee showed up to officiate this contest.

Lane led only 17-11 at halftime despite scoring the game’s first nine points on three treys.

“I was thrilled to be down only six at halftime,” Steinmetz head coach Brad Dowling stated after the loss.

Aranez has gone from being Lane’s most improved player to maybe its most important as the team’s point guard this season. Aranez would be the game’s most valuable player after his performance on Tuesday. Aranez keyed the fourth quarter surge with three three-pointers.

“He won the coaches award last year,”Lane head coach Nick Logalbo said. “He’s the ultimate team player. It couldn’t happen to a better guy. He became our captain this year. What he lacks in height he makes up for it with heart.”

Aranez didn’t seem affected by the bus trip. The senior scored a game-high 15 points including two three-point hoops in the opening quarter.

“I don’t think we got off the bus until the fourth quarter,”Logalbo joked after the game.

Aranez led Lane with 15 points as Logalbo used 14 players and seven players contributed offensively.

“(Aranez) makes my job easier,” Logalbo said. “He’s going to be a coach one day. He’s the heart and soul of this team. He runs the show for us.”

Lane really won this game on defense forcing 24 turnovers as Steinmetz shot 11-of-43 on its home court against Lane’s man-to-man defense.

Lane made 7-of-15 shots in the fourth quarter.

“The effort was good for the most part,” Dowling said on the loss.”The hope there being down 12 points was to get it under single digits. We start off the fourth quarter on a 4-0 run it’s a game. They started on a 4-0 run and it’s almost garbage time.”

Frank Bland led Steinmetz with 10 points and 18 rebounds before fouling out.

Lake View JV fades against NorthSide Prep

Lakeview High School’s Junior Varsity team put up a valiant effort in eventually falling to the visiting Northside College Prep Mustangs.
The first half was dominated by defense as the score was rarely separated by more than a basket. In a flurry of rebounding and defense, each team raced the length of the floor seemingly over and over again, propelled towards the basket by good post defense and fast-footed guards. Lakeview’s #10 had a smooth relationship with the ball and continues to demonstrate fine ball-handling and passing abilities that should serve him well in the future.
Late in the third quarter, Northside Prep seemed to find its stride, opening up the score to 22-15 on strong shooting and a few second-chance points. Enter Lakeview sophomore #12, Johnny Threepoints. After draining a calm and steady three-pt shot to bring Lakeview within four points of tying the game, Lakeview’s defense took hold of the game and came within one point of beating the Mustangs on #32’s rebound and put-back from under the basket. The final in-bounds pass by Lakeview with less than two seconds left on the clock glanced off the intended players hands like a Chicago Bears pass, and the clock was run out by Northside.
Where are the photos? Try the FaceBook page… 

Have A Skate With Bob 12/3/11

Pictured - Members of the HSWB All Stars and the Rockford Bear Minimum hockey teams after their charity game.


This past Saturday afternoon a charity hockey game was played at the BMO Harris Bank Centre in Rockford. Skaters from as far as Ontario came to help friends raise money to fight a deadly disease. The game was planned by a close knit group of friends who have been personally affected by Pancreatic Cancer. The Rockford IceHogs Charitable Foundation joined it’s forces with the Have a Skate with Bob Foundation to help raise money to help find a cure for this deadly disease.

Bob Klem, from Kansas, lost his wife Becky to Pancreatic Cancer in 1999, just 3 short months after diagnosis. In 2007 HSWB was founded after his daughter told him should put purple tape on his goalie stick to honor her. Bob has since worked tirelessly in his efforts to raise money to find a cure.

Bob is also a member of a very close group of Chicago Blackhawks fans who converse frequently in a on-line community, Many members of that community are also Season Ticket Holders for the Blackhawks and see each other frequently at games and in their personal lives. 

The IHN community lost one of their own this past summer to Pancreatic Cancer, Tom Jacobson. Tom fought PC for 2 years before passing away in June. The game Saturday was played in his memory. His daughter Nicole, skated in her very first game of hockey on Saturday to honor her father. Throughout the game, the video board displayed a endless visual into Becky’s and Tom’s lives.

The charity game was between the Have A Skate with Bob All Stars team and the Rockford Bear Minimum hockey club. As rumored, the All Stars’ roster had a ringer on it, former IceHogs player Oak Hewer. The final score wasn’t important, the Bears won 16-7 if anyone cared. The game itself, while not polished, was filled with laughter, played in the name of friendship and love. In the last few minutes of the 3rd frame, the All Stars emptied their bench onto the ice and were seen with big grins on their faces as they threw mock punches at each other in a line brawl within their own ranks.

A Silent Auction was held later that evening, while the IceHogs played against the Abbotsford Heat. A wide variety of auction items were donated by friends, family members, hockey players and teams. A raffle was also held for a team autographed IceHogs jersey. The tables and walls behind them were covered with priceless treasures waiting to be won by a lucky bidder. Fans attending the game could be seen through out the game crowding the tables placing their bids. At the end of the night, the auction & jersey raffle brought in over $4,200. Proceeds went to help the fight against Pancreatic Cancer.

For further information please visit .

Members of the All Stars staged a mock line brawl within their own ranks at the end of the game.


Heat Melts the Hogs 2-1

Rockford's Brandon Segal drives the puck towards the net, while Abbotsford's Leland Irving blocks his way.


The sparks always fly when the IceHogs play against the Abbotsford Heat and Saturday night’s game was no exception. The tension between the teams came to a boil several times, resulting in 2 fights and a handful of scrums. The game itself appeared to be heading for overtime when Ben Walter scored a goal late in the 3rd period, securing the 2-1 win for the Heat.

Saturday night was also Teddy Bear Toss Night and Rockford Fans did not disappoint. A grand total of 1,221 stuffed animals were tossed by fans to the ice after Brett McLean scored the first goal for the IceHogs at 14:26 in the first frame.



IceHogs Dealt Three Blows Friday

Former IceHogs player Evan Brophy is pictured with Alexander Salak.


The IceHogs players and fans received 3 hard blows to digest this past Friday December 2, 2011.

Blow #1 was a press release announcing that veteran IceHogs player Rob Klinkhammer had been traded that day to the Ottawa Senators. Many of the IceHogs players first learned of the trade after arriving to the BMO Harris Bank Centre for the game against the Lake Erie Monsters. Klinkhammer was currently in his 4th season with the IceHogs when the trade occurred. Ironically, December 17th is “Klinkhammer Bobblehead Night”, where the first 2500 fans entering the arena receive a bobblehead bearing his likeness. Perhaps this could now be considered a parting gift to fans.

Blow #2 came in the form of a injury. Starting goaltender, Alexander Salak went down very early in the second period with a lower body injury. His skate somehow apparently got hung up in the goal frame during play. He was seen requiring assistance leaving the ice, unable to bear weight on his left leg. He was transported to a area health center for further testing. A call went out immediately to Toledo for the recall of netminder Carter Hutton from the ECHL Walleyes. Also included in that recall was forward Rob Flick, to fill the hole in the roster made by Klinkhammer’s departure.

Blow #3 was the team’s loss to the Lake Erie Monsters 4-1. Starting cold apparently was not a good thing for Alec Richards, who replaced Salak in net, as the Monsters scored 3 times in 7 shots at him.

On a more cheerful note, fans were treated to the appearace of 3 former IceHogs players during the game. Evan Brophy, Mike Brennan and Hugh Jessiman are all playing for the Monsters this season. During the opening ceremony, a loud cheer went up when Brophy’s name was announced in the starting lineup for the Monsters. Brophy had played with the IceHogs for 4 seasons prior to being signed by Colorado this past July as a Free Agent.


Loyola Tops Gordon

Gordon was hoping for better results on the basketball court this season in Catholic League play. The Rams were 0-10 last year, but head coach Shay Boyle was hoping the addition of St Pat’s transfer Mahlike Graham and a healthy Jerry Davis would pay dividends this season.

Loyola(3-2,1-0) dealt Gordon its 22nd straight loss in the Catholic League despite 24 points from Davis. The Ramblers beat the Rams (2-3,0-1) 69-61 as football players Peter Pujals and Rich Wehman made their season debuts for Loyola.
Pujals and Wehman returned to the lineup and combined for 40 points after losing the Class 8A football championship against Bolingbrook. Pujals had 16 of his team-high 23 points in the first half while Wehman scored 13 points in the second half to help Loyola pull away and earn the eight-point win at home.
“It’s frustrating,” Boyle admitted on his team’s struggles in the Catholic League. “We’ve made a lot of strides. I tell these guys every day in practice it’s the best conference in the United States. It makes us better. We’re stronger for the state playoffs. We’re one of the only Catholic League teams who won back-to-back regionals(in 2009 and 2010). This schedule prepares us for postseason.”
“It was hard the first few days at practice,” Pujals said after the win at Loyola. “I thought I would take my anger out on this game. I owe it to the basketball team(to play hard). I can’t be complaining about football. I just try to do my job.”
“You expected a lot of rust,” said Loyola head coach Tom Livatino. I don’t know if they used rust-o-leum. There wasn’t that much rust. Both of those guys bring a tremendous amount of leadership. Peter and Rich are special kids.”
Loyola did a solid job of defending Gordon’s Dave Andrews. Andrews scored 12 points in the opening quarter and failed to score again until the final 90 seconds of the contest.
The Ramblers scored only four baskets in the final quarter, but sealed the win with 11 free throws.
James Clarke added 15 points for the Ramblers who forced Gordon into 20 turnovers.
Graham in his Catholic League debut was limited to only seven points.
Davis scored 15 points in the fourth quarter as Andrews finished with 17 points.
Loyola led 33-31 at the half.
Both teams played without their leading scorers who were missing due to injury.
Gordon will host St. Ignatius next Friday night.
“Pujals and Wehman were the difference tonight,” added Boyle.

Barons Best IceHogs 3-1

Alexander Salak covers the puck, stopping play during the game between the IceHogs and the Oklahoma City Barons on Saturday night.


The IceHogs’ had their 2 game home winning streak cut short last night, as the Oklahoma City Barons took the win 3-1. Brian Connelly scored the lone goal for the IceHogs, with the assist going to Brett McLean. Philippe Cornet tallied twice in the 3rd frame the Barons, with Ryan O’Marra scoring a empty netter to secure the win.

The IceHogs are back at the BMO Harris Bank Centre on Friday December 2, 2011 when the IceHogs take on the Lake Erie Monsters. Puck drops at 7:05pm.





By John Montgomery

The high school football season began with Mt. Carmel(10-4) beating Simeon(10-4) at Soldier Field in August. The season ended with Bolingbrook(13-1) beating Loyola (13-1) 21-17 at Champaign in the Class 8A championship game.
In our area, the two biggest stories occurred off the field. Gordon(5-5) forfeited to Leo(5-6) in the Catholic League playoffs while Lake View linebacker Ashley Diaz missed the season due to health issues.
In the Prep Bowl at Soldier Field, Brandon Greer rushed for 221 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Caravan to their 11th city championship. Simeon fell short despite 205 yards passing from backup quarterback Elcee Burke.
Mt Carmel has won 11 Prep Bowls and 10 state football championships. This past year saw Mt Carmel head coach Frank Lenti become the state’s winningest man on a high school sideline in Illinois. Lenti will enter 2012 with 313 wins and only 58 defeats.
In our neighborhood, Gordon made the Catholic League playoffs despite suiting up only 22 players. The Rams were hoping to advance to the state football playoffs.
Leo beat Gordon 39-19 at Luther North in an embarrassing loss for the Rams during section play.
The Rams were ready for the rematch as they stunned Leo 14-8 limiting Keith Harris to 23 yards on 12 carries and more importantly no trips into the end zone at Luther North.
The thrill of victory turned into the agony of controversial defeat six days later as Gordon forfeited for playing two freshmen in the win over Leo. Leo re-entered the playoff and was beaten by Hales(7-5).
Under Catholic League rules, freshman are ineligible to participate against Catholic League opponents. Freshmen can play in the state playoffs. This rule might be changed after the outcry over this forfeit.
On the field, Lane(3-6) endured its third straight losing season. Taft(7-3) won the Big Shoulders section over Foreman(7-3) and Mather(6-3).
Diaz missed the season for Lake View(7-2), who won the section title after losing season opener to Gordon 54-0.
Eventually Mt Carmel would meet and beat Simeon in the Prep Bowl.
Most people still don’t think it’s fair for the Catholic League and Public League teams that lose in the state playoffs to re-enter Prep Bowl playoffs.
In the state playoffs, could Maine South(10-1) win a fourth straight title? The Hawks were upset by Stevenson(9-3) in the second round of the Class 8A tournament. Maine South could be a factor again in 2012 with Matt Alvitti returning for his senior year at quarterback.
Fans, coaches, and media were anticipating a rematch between Loyola(13-1) and Maine South in the semifinals of the 8A playoffs. Maine South had beaten Loyola in back-to-back years enroute to state championships.
Stevenson stunned Maine South so the next best matchup would Loyola-Bolingbrook in the title game at Champaign.
Bolingbrook(13-1) won its first state football title beating Loyola 21-17 on Saturday to close the book on football 2011. Junior quarterback Aaron Bailey had two touchdowns and 149 yards rushing to lead the Raiders. A dramatic game despite the weather conditions and five turnovers by Bolingbrook.
Another game that would be interesting to spectators was Montini clashing with Joliet Catholic in the Class 5A championship. Montini(12-2) beat Joliet Catholic 29-28 in the 2009 Class 5A final.
The rematch wasn’t a disappointment as Montini won its third straight state football title 70-45 over the Hilltoppers(11-3), who have won 13 state football championships. Montini’s Jordan Westerkamp caught five touchdown passes from quarterback John Rhode. Westerkamp, who will attend Nebraska, had 11 receptions for 331 yards. The Broncos overcame a stellar performance by Joliet Catholic junior Ty Isaac. Issac rushed a state record 515 yards and six touchdowns in the loss.
Dakota(12-2), Morrison(13-1), Aurora Christian(13-1), Rochester(12-2), Prairie Ridge(13-1), and Rockford Boylan(14-0) left Champaign with state football championships.
Now, my choices for Player and Coach of the Year. The Player of the Year in our area is Gordon quarterback Julian Russell. Russell finished his senior year with the Rams by rushing for 763 yards and 15 touchdowns. Isaac is my pick for Player of the Year in the Chicago area. Isaac ran for 51 touchdowns and 2,629 yards.
My selection for Coach of the Year in our area of Chicago is Taft’s Matt Walsh. Walsh has revived the program at Taft winning the section title this past season while making appearances in the state playoffs in back-to-back seasons.
The choice for Coach of the Year in Chicago area is Prairie Ridge’s Chris Schrempf. Prairie Ridge won the Class 6A title over the weekend by beating Peoria Richwoods. The school located in Crystal Lake won its first state football title after losing in the semifinals in 2010 to Rockford Boylan.
More high school sports next week including Gordon’s Catholic League opener against Loyola in basketball.

Pirri Shines, Spears IceHogs to 6-3 Victory

Pictured - IceHogs' Brandon Pirri and Brian Foster for the Rampage.


Wednesday night was Brandon Pirri’s night to shine. They say all things come in 3’s and Pirri’s night was no exception. The night ended with Pirri, a 20 yr old Toronto native, earning himself a Hat Trick during the game between the IceHogs and the San Antonio Rampage. His 2nd thrill of the night was being named #1 Star of the Game and cappping off a perfect night of hockey for him, was being named AHL’s #1 Star of the Night. In his 2nd year of a 3 year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, Pirri currently the IceHogs leading scorer.

Completing the game’s Stars were Brian Connelly with 4 assists and Rostislav Olesz with a goal and a assist. Left winger Olesz was recently assigned to the IceHogs by the Chicago Blackhawks. Alexander Salak was in net for the IceHogs while Brian Foster backstopped the Rampage.

It’s no secret that the IceHogs have been struggling on home ice, having lost the last 6 games in a row. But hopefully their 6-3 win over the Rampage will help the team turn the corner and skate out of that skid. This upcoming month, the IceHogs have a chance to improve their record before the home crowd as on Friday night they start a 4 week Friday/Saturday bak-to-back home game schedule.