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Hockey World Mourns Ben Allison: “An Extraordinary Kid”

Visitation will be held Saturday, January 31 at Willow Creek Community Church from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. with services immediately following from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
 
Willow Creek Community Church
Lake Side Auditorium
67 Algonquin Road, South Barrington, IL 60010

Benjamin Allison – who played goalie for Crystal Lake South High School and also was a skilled, high-level referee – passed away Tuesday morning, January 27, at Advocate BroMenn Regional Medical Center where he had been transported after he was found lying in the street in Normal on Saturday morning, January 24, after being struck by a car in a hit-and-run. He was a sophomore at Illinois State University. Allison was 20.

“Ben was an extraordinary kid. When he walked into a room, he was immediately liked,” said Rich Perillo, Crystal Lake South head coach. “He was a genuine kid, very kind, a leader who helped all of the younger kids. I can’t think of anybody who didn’t like Ben; he was just so well liked by everybody.”

Allison was a three-year varsity goalie who played for the Gators’ junior varsity team as a freshman.

“His size was great. His quickness with his glove, plus his side-to-side movement, made him a great goalie. He had great skill, great talent,” Perillo said. “He had so many friends, inside and outside of hockey. This has really devastated the community.”

The Gators played co-op Maine Township on Saturday night, January 24, in West Dundee, learning an hour before the game from Perillo about what happened to Allison. The team dedicated the game to Allison and it ended in a tie, 4-4.

CLS assistant coach Wayne Bower visited Allison in the hospital before he passed, along with many CLS players, both current Gators and about 20 former teammates of Allison, who kept a vigil at the hospital. Bower brought his son, Joey, who was CLS teammates and close friends with Allison.

Some of Allison’s former CLS jerseys will be given to his former teammates, Perillo said.

Perillo said one of his favorite Allison memories actually happened before a game – when the National Anthem singer for a special game didn’t show. Allison, a senior at the time, told Perillo he’d sing it, and he did. “He sang it perfectly,” Perillo said.

Perillo confirmed that helmet stickers and memory patches have been ordered to honor Allison.

McLean County Coroner Dr. Kathleen Davis said in a statement that Allison was an organ donor through the Gift of Hope program. An autopsy will be conducted at a later date, said Davis, whose office and the Normal Police Department continue to investigate the fatal hit-and-run accident, reported The Pantagraph.

Joey Bower, 21, a sophomore at St. Mary’s University in Minnesota, was a three-year CLS player.  He was friends with Allison since seventh-grade and teammates for five seasons.

“He was the most selfless guy I ever met, the nicest kid I ever met; that’s the truth. I can’t explain how much of a good person he was and how he would run through a wall for any of his friends or family. He would drop whatever he needed to do to help you out,” Bower said.

Allison officiated through the Illinois Hockey Officials Association (IHOA) and also in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) through the USA Hockey Officiating Development Program (ODP). He worked a game this past December in Crystal Lake along with longtime local official Jack Raslawski – and Allison was the referee in the three-official game, though he learned he was working in the middle, with the orange bands, less than an hour before the opening faceoff.

“Ben officiated a great game, and (after) the game, Ben advised (me that) that was only his second time in the middle,” Raslawski said. “This kid had a great sense of humor; he was dedicated to our craft and a work ethic second to none. He truly was a great ambassador to our game (who) will be missed by all in our hockey community.”

Local referee Erin Blair added: “Ben always had a smile on his face; (you) could count on him for that. He had great aspirations as an official and always wanted to improve.”

Allison was a communications major at ISU and staff member at WZND, the student radio station.

“He would drop anything and everything in his life for his friends and family,” said Jordan Ross, 21, a junior at Illinois State University from Crystal Lake. Ross, a two-year CLS varsity skater, and Allison were teammates for five years.

“He was one helluva goalie, one of the best I ever played with. He was so big, so skilled; it was hard to score on him.”

Shane Gustafson is a former CLS teammate with Allison and the two also officiated together. Gustafson, 19, from Lake In The Hills, is a freshman at Northern Illinois University, and he credits Allison with pushing him toward USA Hockey’s ODP.

“Ben was just one of the kindest … he was always there for you,” Gustafson said. “I basically have him to thank him for where I am (as an official).

“Ben was so hard working on the ice, and was so hilarious, with his weird sense of humor. He’d make you laugh without really trying.  He truly was a great guy who was on a fast-path (to higher level games) as an official.”

Police in Normal said Joshua M. Dunn, 21, was charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing injury. Dunn was being held in McLean County Jail.

In a message to ISU students, faculty and staff sent Tuesday morning, ISU president Larry Dietz said, “Today is a sad day for the Illinois State University family as we mourn the loss of a student, Benjamin Allison. Benjamin died from injuries he suffered on Saturday in a vehicle-pedestrian accident in Normal. Our sincerest condolences go to his family.”

Dietz said that Allison “will be greatly missed by his classmates, friends and his second family at WZND.  He was also passionate about hockey and was active in the local and Crystal Lake hockey communities. Many people will lead better lives through Benjamin’s gift as an organ donor.”

“Tragedies like this remind us that life is precious and that we rely on each other for support. We may experience a wide range of emotions and may feel overwhelmed as we work through grief. It is important to remember that we are never alone and that by sharing our thoughts and feelings we will begin to heal.”

A Facebook page called “Ben Allison’s Legacy” has been set up by Allison’s friends and it already has more than 4,500 likes.

By Ross Forman


NEVER DONE BEFORE: Cutting-edge NHL analytics team puts the test to youth hockey for the first time ever. Watch this video and see what you think.


Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame Inducts Nine New Members
into the Class of 2014!

Nearly 300 people were present as the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame (IHHF) recently inducted its 10th class of inductees into its Hall of Fame. The honored inductees who were inducted on Sunday, January 25, 2015 at the Belvedere Banquet Hall in Elk Grove were (pictured above top left) John Murphy, Ray Berens, Derek Denoyer and Steve Cromie. (bottom left) Neds Forsberg, Sjoukje Brown, Lisa Chesson, Jon Raslawski and Rocky Wirtz. 

Illinois hockey has a very long and rich hockey history, due in large part, to the foundation laid down by these inductees. Their tireless dedication in making sure every individual who had a desire to participate in this great sport has had the opportunity to do so.

The mission statement of the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame is as follows: “To honor the excellence of those individuals who, through their exceptional endeavors both on and off the ice, have contributed in an extraordinary way to enhance the sport and image of hockey in Illinois.”

You can learn more about the long hockey history each of these individuals has contributed as each member of the Class of 2014 is being featured in the AHAI electronic newsletter Snapshot.

On behalf of everyone involved in the game of hockey, we admire and thank each of the inductees into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame class of 2014. They truly are in a class all their own!


2015 Hockey is for Everyone Session

Registration: Saturday, February 21, 2015.
Doors open at 6am, first come first serve. Program fills at 80 skaters


2015 Session: March 19 - June 25
Thursdays @ 7:50pm-8:50pm
*last 5 ice slots will be earlier, time TBD

Fitting day TBA
Registration, fitting day and skating all held at HF Ice ARena
777 Kedzie Ave
Flossmoor, IL 60422

contact Brit Volini with questions
bgvolini@gmail.com


Player and Volunteer of the Month for December!

Congratulations to the BMO Harris Bank Coach, Player and Volunteer of the Month for December! The recipients were honored on Tuesday, January 20 at the Blackhawks vs. Coyotes game.


Left to Right: Chris McComish, BMO Harris Bank, Volunteer – Ned Forsberg, New Trier Girls Hockey, Coach – Phil Zangara, Gurnee Maulers, Player – James Randolph, Lake Forest Winter Club, Annie Camins, Chicago Blackhawks Youth Hockey Director


AHAI recognizes that Illinois Hockey is comprised not only of incredible players, but also of great Boys' and Girls' High School and Youth/Girls' Hockey Coaches that guide our teams both on and off the ice. Candidates for AHAI's Boys' and Girls' High School and Youth/Girls' Hockey Coach of the Year Awards should embody good sportsmanship and respect towards team, parents and officials while providing a positive High School or Youth/Girls' Hockey experience. Candidates should also teach positive life skills while demonstrating dedication, passion and commitment to community. Click HERE for nomination form. Deadline to nominate is Friday, February 20, 2015.


The AHAI 2015 Player Development Process Begins This Month

All Tier I, Tier II, Prep and High School Varsity players within the 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001 birth years are eligible by invitation only for the 2015 Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois (AHAI) Player Development / Identification Tryout Camp held in Bensenville, Illinois, the weekend of March 20 – 22, 2015.


Chicago Police Department vs. Chicago FBI Fundraiser for Honor Flight Chicago

Saturday, February 28, 2015,
7pm - 10pm

Doors open at 6:30pm – seating is
general admission

The Edge Ice Arena
735 E. Jefferson Street, Bensenville, IL


Blackhawk Alumni Increases Scholarships to $7,500.00!!

Dear Illinois High School Hockey Senior:
 
We wanted to make you aware of a unique opportunity for all graduating Illinois High School Players (Seniors). This is an annual scholarship which is provided by the Chicago Blackhawk Alumni Association to three Illinois High School hockey players. The Alumni Association was formed in 1987 by former Blackhawk players (Stan Mikita, Keith Magnuson, Cliff Koroll, and many others) with one of the main goals being giving back to Illinois youth hockey, high School in particular. As a part of this charge, the Alumni awards three annual $5,000 scholarships (for 4 years) — THIS NEXT YEAR THE AMOUNT HAS BEEN RAISED TO $7,500.00 (for four Years - Totaling $30,000.00) to “the most deserving high school hockey players” in the state. The selection process is determined not by talent, but by the following five criteria:

Academics
Financial Need
Character
Community Service
Applicant Essay

Please take a minute to visit the Blackhawk Alumni website to read more about the scholarship, view a list of past recipients and to download the application.

If you have any questions regarding the scholarship, please direct them to Tom Dillon at tom.dillon@amwins.com.


America's Showcase Illinois Team Announces Tryouts and Schedule!

America's Showcase will take place from April 8-13, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The AHAI High School coaching community is honored to have the opportunity to be involved with the top High School players in Illinois. They feel that America's High School Showcase offers players a great opportunity to be exposed to Junior, College and Professional Scouts from throughout the USA and Canada and the honor to represent Illinois in the best High School Hockey event in North America. 

It is very important that all of the players that are trying out for this team understand the requirements and the commitment they are expected to make. With the short amount of time AHAI has to put this Team together, it is to each player's benefit to cooperate with the Coaching Staff in regard to tryouts and practices. In particular, we would like all players to understand the following points:

    Tryouts — All players must attend at least one tryout to be eligible for consideration for this team. No player will be selected on reputation only. The coaching staff will select and announce the final roster of 20 players and up to 5 alternates shortly after the final tryout.

    Commitment — If you are selected to be an America's High School Showcase Illinois Team member, the Team will practice from late March until the start of America's High School Showcase on April 10th. The Team may play exhibition games during this time as well. All commitments to your current team will be over by then (unless your team is participating in the USA Hockey National Championships). It will be impossible to put this team together and make us all proud of our effort without the commitment of each player for the few weeks preceding the America's High School Showcase event. Your commitment during this time is required. The team will be traveling to Pittsburgh on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 and returning on Sunday, April 12th or Monday, April 13th, depending on how we finish.

Please review the Tryout Practice Schedule which is attached below.


AHAI announced the 2015 Men's and Women's State Tournament at various adult levels (Multiple Mens and Womens Divisions for all skill levels, Novice/Rec, CII, CI, B, A.) will take place at the Darien Sportsplex from April 23-26, 2015.

The Adult State Tournament is open to Adult (21+) Men & Women USA Hockey registered players & teams who played at least 8 games together in the 2014-2015 season, or non-USA league teams & players that wish to become USA members before the Tournament.  Players may play on only one team in the Tournament.

Some of this year's features include a Three to Five Game minimum, Three 13 minute periods – 5 minute - four on four sudden death overtime followed by a three player shootout. Top AHAI Officials for every game with up to the minute standings & stats posted on Pointstreak throughout the Tournament. Prizes, gifts & giveaways for all participants.  AHAI Banners and individual awards to all Division Finalists. 

This year's Adult State Tournament promises to be the best ever in the history of AHAI. For more information and registration information, please "Click Here".


2014 Blackhawk Charities HoHo Hockey Tournament

The best high school teams throughout the Midwest competed in the 21st Annual Chicago Blackhawks Charities High School Hockey Classic, presented by Coca-Cola Zero and supported by Comcast Sportsnet which took place at the Edge Ice Arena. This year’s tournament featured twenty (20) high school teams.

Congratulations to Glenbrook North on taking the title!!


“UNITE ON THE ICE” OPENS COYOTE LOGISTICS HOCKEY CITY CLASSIC WINTER FESTIVAL

The Coyote Logistics Hockey City Classic Winter Festival starts the night of Thursday, Feb. 5, at 5 p.m. with “Unite on the Ice” – an evening of celebrity hockey and open skate activities benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

NHL and AHL alumni, including Hall of Fame Blackhawks player and coach Denis Savard, 2013 Stanley Cup Champion Jamal Mayers and former St. Louis Blues forward Gino “The Tank” Cavallini, will participate in a celebrity hockey game along with several other stars.

There will be three open skate sessions along with raffles and auctions for signed memorabilia and prizes, as well as photo opportunities with some of the game’s greatest players and local celebrities. Tickets are $75 and include skate rental.

Tickets to Night of Activities and Celebrity Hockey on February 5 Benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on Sale Now!

Learn more and purchase tickets: stjude.org/uniteontheice


BLACKHAWKS ANNOUNCE FOURTH ANNUAL EDDIE OLCZYK AWARD FOR YOUTH HOCKEY

The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that the organization will partner with Blackhawks Television Analyst Eddie Olczyk and Blackhawks Charities for the fourth annual Eddie Olczyk Award, which supports youth hockey players, teams and organizations in Illinois that may not have the means to play at a competitive level.

Since its inception in 2011, the Eddie Olczyk Award has distributed over $100,000 in grants, raised through Blackhawks Youth Hockey Summer Camps, to 46 individuals and two organizations. Individuals and families in need of assistance for participation in an Illinois sanctioned team or organization, sanctioned teams in need of assistance for tournament expenses and Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois (AHAI) organizations in need of assistance to run programs which increase the participation in, and quality of, youth hockey who wish to be considered for the grant process must submit a letter of inquiry by Friday, Feb. 20, 2015. Complete information can be found on blackhawks.nhl.com/youthhockey.

“It’s such an amazing privilege to be able to help our local youth hockey community through this award, which continues to grow each year due in large part to the support of the entire Blackhawks organization,” said Olczyk. “I am proud to be actively involved in the Illinois youth hockey community, which has seen extraordinary growth in recent years, and helping make a profound impact.”

A 2012 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and native of Palos Heights, Ill., Olczyk is now in his ninth season as the television analyst for Blackhawks hockey on Comcast SportsNet Chicago and WGN-TV Channel 9. He also serves as the Head Instructor at Chicago Blackhawks Youth Hockey Camps and is dedicated to the development and growth of youth hockey in Illinois.

A veteran of 16 National Hockey League seasons, Olczyk began his career as an 18-year-old with his hometown Blackhawks in 1984-85 after being chosen with the third overall selection of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. Olczyk recorded 77 goals and 209 points in 322 regular-season tilts over five seasons with Chicago (1984-87, 1998-2000) and tallied 13 points (7G, 6A) in 21 Stanley Cup Playoff tilts with the Blackhawks.

Over the course of 1,031 regular-season games he scored 342 goals and recorded 794 points with Chicago, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Winnipeg, the New York Rangers and Los Angeles, winning a Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1994, and was also a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic team. Olczyk also serves as the lead television analyst for NHL national broadcasts on NBC Sports Group.


Important Information Regarding USA Hockey’s National Girls Player Development Process

USA Hockey, Girls/Women Department are making changes to the National Camp Program effective 2015. 

The major change is that there will no longer be a 14U National Development Camp, but the Central District will continue to offer a 6 day/5 night development camp for 2001 birth years. You MUST register and tryout April 17-19, in Fond du Lac, WI. Registration will be online and will open February 15 and close March 1. The Central District camp will consist of 6 teams of 2000 and 2001 birth years and 2 teams for 1996-1999. This camp will be hosted in Green Bay, WI, beginning June 21 and concluding June 26.  In addition, USA Hockey is adding a new camp - the U18 Camp starting June 27-July 3, 2015. This camp will consist of 66 players and players will be invited by the National office staff, more details should be made available at the USA Hockey Winter Meeting on January 15-18.  An additional email will be sent to all registered players with the registration link the week of February 8.

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