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Nighthawks Hockey: An Unrecognized Sport

By George Panoutsos

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[youtube]https://youtu.be/3s9MuZ-7dZk[/youtube]

IMG_9869You may have heard of The Niles Nighthawks, a combined Niles North and Niles West Club hockey team. The Nighthawks are West and North’s hockey team that nobody seems to know about, and that needs to change.

Currently the Nighthawks are recognized as a club at West… a club that cost $3,500 to be a part of. As one would imagine, a $3,500 fee sounds discouraging to want to join the team. The school does not cover very much of the annual fee to play on the team. In addition to being financially shunned, the Nighthawks are not recognized at pep assemblies or by the student population because the school has not supported or promoted the team.

Niles West’s Athletic Director Kendall Griffin said, “The Nighthawks are a co-op program with Niles West and North, and one of the major reasons why we have not seen it become a sport here at Niles West, is because the IHSA does not support hockey. The problem with making hockey a sport would be the lack of facilities, liability and scheduling issues.”

The team plays out of the Skokie Skatium, using their facilities, and the average week of Nighthawks hockey consists of 4-5 days per week on the ice, yet the team is not recognized as a sport. The IHSA says that the sport of hockey is too much of a liability.

I am puzzled by this statement,because according to Johns Hopkins medical center, almost 215,000 children ages five to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for football-related injuries, and football is an IHSA supported sport. Playing Ice hockey, about 20,000 children ages five to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for ice hockey-related injuries. The liability claim is invalid according to these statistics and many others.

The NWN spoke with some of the players on The Niles Nighthawks including sophomore Mary Clark. Clark claims, “We should be considered a sport and not a club because we have players from our school who actually support our school, and many students from West don’t even know our team exists. The school should help support us, because if more people knew about The Nighthawks, they could come out and watch our games and make hockey a big deal at Niles West.”

The Nighthawks coach Steve Glickman told the NWN, “all we are looking for from the school is ample support, and to let the kids on the hockey team feel like they’re a part of their school-supported environment. We should get coverage by the school media, and have the scores of our games posted up on the website, and just be recognized like the other sports at the school.”

The Nighthawks are a team on the rise, looking to make a run for the record books with current standings of 2 wins and 1 loss. They are looking to take home The Varsity Sterling Division title. The Nighthawks are a team to watch this season, so come out and support your Niles West hockey team this Saturday night 9:00 at the Skokie Skatium as the squad takes on St. Patrick’s High School. It’s time to recognize and accept high school hockey.

Video by Katrina Nickell

1 Comment

One Response to “Nighthawks Hockey: An Unrecognized Sport”

  1. Clotfelter on December 17th, 2017 9:29 am

    Steve Glickman has been around a very long time and has done great things for the youth in the skokie/ Niles area. Thanks Steve for your years of service. Many boys have become great men as result of your work with youth hockey

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