2020-21 LFHS Strategic Plan

Q: What have we learned throughout the pandemic? A: Everything is changing constantly; we never know what is next and answers to our questions prove difficult at best. I am writing you today to change this cycle; this is our 2020-21 Fall Season Strategic plan.

First, a brief education on AHAI (Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois) which is the governing body of hockey in Illinois. The Illinois High School Hockey League (IHSHL), which LFHS is a member, is governed by AHAI. However, one entity has complete control over all of the leagues, clubs and all hockey organizations; that is the State of Illinois. Since the restrictions to youth sports have been handed down by the Governor’s office, we have all been doing our best to decipher these guidelines without much, if any, clarification from AHAI. The message we have received from AHAI is that they will certify rosters on the normal timeline; therefore, if the environment changes quickly, we will have our teams in place and ready to go.

Second, our teams. Interestingly, after we graduated 18 seniors in the 2019-20 season, and our summer response indicates we have enough players to not only replace those players, but to also to fill a third team. As I have said in the past, LFHS hockey has been put on the map in two seasons. Quality coaching, high levels of player responsibility, accountability and work ethic have led to two seasons of league championships and state playoff runs. Players are committed and understand what they need to bring to the table to “live-up” to the expectations of seasons past. Therefore, provided our summer interest carries over to tryouts, we are preparing to have three teams this season; Varsity, JV Gold and JV Blue. Teams will be smaller than in the past two seasons but will allow for increased development of individual skills and hockey concepts.

However, you may ask what good are three teams if we will not have league play? It is clear that we will not play the type of regular season to which we all are accustomed. However, this does not stop us from having a really fun, exciting and competitive season. AHAI and the IHSHL have stated that if the State of Illinois modifies its current risk level for hockey to allow us to play, they can quickly put together league schedules and move forward to accomplish as much of a season as possible. LFHS hockey will be able to quickly switch gears as well. Therefore, as scheduled, we will still hold conditioning clinics and tryouts where teams will be selected. If league play does occur, our teams will have been selected, already practicing together and will be set to compete. 

Once teams are selected, we will be skating out of Lake Forest College starting Wednesday September 9th. Even if league play is delayed or does not happen, we can keep our players engaged and enjoying the game of hockey. Our players can expect to be on the ice at least three times a week once we begin skating. Twice per week, players will practice with their respective team, another ice slot during the week will be designated for the Lake Forest High School Competitive Situational Drills (LFCSD). We will divide-up players into competitive groups and each of these competitive groups will have an average of 7 players (give or take 1 or 2 depending on numbers in a specific age group). These groups will be put into competitive, game-like, situational conditioning drills one time throughout the week. We will also have goalie clinics on Saturday mornings which provides our goalies with specific positional training. We also use Saturday mornings for occasional skills sessions for players. For example, Coach Mike will invite the centers out to work on face-offs, or I will bring out the defenseman to work on position specific skills. Players are welcome to attend any Saturday morning goalie clinic or skill session; we always need shooters to help our goaltenders.

I understand there may be some confusion. Think of it simply as your player will be on two LFHS teams. Along with team practices and skills sessions they will experience “game-like” LFCSD practices to promote a competitive atmosphere and continue to build a team like spirit with the group of players that they have been placed.

We all understand we may need to adjust this plan throughout the season and if there is a change in the decision regarding league play, we will drop the LFCSD practice during the week and convert this into team practices to be better prepared for league games. 

Given our current environment, this season may be one of the best situations for your player. They will be in smaller groups on the ice, have more ice time, enjoying competitive situations and be with their friends. Players will receive both a league and game-like atmosphere in the LFCSD practices - they will feel as if they are actually playing in a league.

With challenging times comes a lot of creative and different ideas. Different doesn't mean less. It is important to know our costs for the hockey program are fixed; therefore, please understand our fees will not be changing. 

Considering we do not know the future we do not know if we will have league games or tournaments this season, this will be contingent on the State’s decisions moving forward. In this case we do not have a league or tournament games the LFHSHA Board of Directors will look at refunding dues appropriately based on the cost of leagues and tournaments.

Registration will open Tuesday August 11th for the 2020-21 Lake Forest High School Hockey season and will be closing 8/21. Please get your player registered right away at www.scouthockey.com