Ella Droege was playing defense years ago in her first-ever hockey game, but admittedly didn’t know where to lineup on the opening faceoff.
Still, she stuck with the sport and her first-ever coach years ago stuck with her, stressing to Droege that, yes, she could play the game.
Wally Kormylo from the Falcons was that coach – and Droege is proud to play her fourth and final season for the co-op Lake Forest girls’ varsity hockey team. She knows Coach Wally would be smiling. He passed away October 3, and there is now a center ice banner honoring Coach Wally at Centennial Park in Highland Park.
Droege, 18, is a senior at Lake Forest High School who also skates for the Madison (Wisc.) Capitols U19 team. She is a two-time USA Hockey Central District Player Development Camp Selection, a Wisconsin Tier 1 Girls State Champion (2023) and an Illinois High School All-State Team Selection (2023).
The right-handed shooting center, with solid playmaking skills, has helped the Scouts open Metro Girls play with a 1-1 record in Founders Cup action. The Scouts lost 3-2 to Loyola in their league opener, then regrouped to trounce Evanston, 9-2, on November 8. Droege had the first goal of the game against Evanston.
Combined, in her first 14 games this season, Droege has 4 goals, 4 assists, including 1 short-handed tally.
“Ella is a very personable, very coachable player,” said Lake Forest co-head coach Jordan Trapp. “She has a great shot, is very fast and just a complete team player.”
Droege, who is uncertain on her college plans for next fall, said her favorite goal was during Lake Forest’s senior night in 2022 against the co-op Burlington West Grizzlies, a team filled with players from six west suburban schools – and a team that consistently had defeated the Scouts.
Droege also plays lacrosse for Lake Forest and is active with the school’s Scout Buddies program that “gives special needs students at LFHS a space to express themselves and interact with their peers,” she said.
Lacrosse helps Droege on the ice, she said, particularly with hand-to-eye coordination and endurance.
“We are a very young team this season, with lots of players who are excited to play for their first-ever high school team,” she said. “We have good goaltending, defensemen and skaters.”
Slapshots With … Lake Forest Forward Ella Droege
Favorite NHL Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Favorite NHL Player: Connor McDavid
Favorite Sports-themed Movie: The Blind Side
Favorite TV Show: Shameless
Favorite Pre-game: Meal: Pasta
Hardest Slapshot on Lake Forest: Vanessa Magsino
Most Accurate Shot on Lake Forest: Kyla Schneider
Lake Forest Player Who You Could See As A Hockey Coach: Kate Broderick
Best High School Uniform (other than LF): New Trier