Police investigating fight after hockey game

A fight after the hockey game against Libertyville is under investigation by Vernon Hills police.

Courtesy of Nick Winebrenner

A fight after the hockey game against Libertyville is under investigation by Vernon Hills police.

Elsa Dahlgren, Staff Writer

The infamous rivalry between Lake Forest High School and Libertyville High School got physical last week when a fight involving as many as 40 students broke out after a hockey game.

A representative for the Vernon Hills Police Department told The Forest Scout Thursday that no one has been charged, but the incident is still under investigation.

Principal Erin Lenart sent a letter this week to students, staff, and parents urging the community to “rise above” the ugliness of the rivalry. Administrators from Vernon Hills and Libertyville also contacted  their communities.

Lenart focused on what LFHS can do to work with the neighboring communities “to do better for our students.” She stressed retaliation is not the answer.

“Just last weekend, I heard rumblings of our students seeking avenues to retaliate with rumored plans to potentially vandalize personal property … These actions have and will only continue an unhealthy rivalry between our schools – one that can likely lead to more poor decision making with unfortunate consequences,” she wrote.

All I could see was a swarm of pink. They were pounding so hard on the glass that I thought it was going to shatter.””

— Lily Pedian

Excitement was high on the days leading up to the Oct.6 game. A large number of students had plans to come to the long-awaited game at Glacier Ice Arena in Vernon Hills. Second to football, hockey may have the highest level of student attendance at their games. Attendance was even larger because of anticipation of playing Lake Forest High School’s biggest rival.

“After every cheer the tension rose from both sides. Everyone was screaming rowdy cheers and by the end of the game I completely lost my voice,” said junior Savvy Smothers. See video.

Chants were fired back and forth from both sides, some not appropriate to be published in The Forest Scout. Students from both sides used mocking stereotypes of the opposing communities.  At one point, senior Gigi Snellback said she heard a few opposing fans yell, “Meet us outside.”

The game ended with a score of 5-3, another win for Scouts hockey. After an exciting game, the Scouts were ready to leave the arena, but when they tried to exit the rink, the doors were blocked by a crowd of Libertyville and Vernon Hills students, some of whom were decked out in pink for their “pink out” game in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month.

“All I could see was a swarm of pink,” said junior Lily Pedian. “They were pounding so hard on the glass that I thought it was going to shatter.”

Junior Bella Ranallo said she was close to the front when the fight broke out.

“We were all trying to exit as they were pushing and swinging at people. They were beating people up and closing the door on them,” she said. “Someone grabbed my sweatshirt and pulled me. He was yelling at me and then I was walking to my car as people were surrounding it, yelling and pushing each other.”

The Vernon Hills Police responded and ensured everyone made it to their cars safely. Ranallo stayed with friend Juju Hunt while she talked to the police. Hunt had been punched in the face, leaving her with a bleeding lip.

The fight was caught on video by multiple students. Just minutes after the fight took place, the video spread across Instagram and Snapchat.

“I am deeply disappointed by the behavior I witnessed. Violence, verbal harassment, and aggression toward others stand in direct opposition to our DARING mission and to our core values of respect, kindness, and decency. These are not empty words, these are commitments to actions,” wrote Vernon Hills Principal Jon Guillaume to parents.

The week before the fight, the Varsity Football team beat Libertyville 56-19 at their homecoming game, which may have added to the tension between the schools.