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Lake Forest Monday 01.28.13. Lake Forest's Luke Bartuch (center) jumps over teammate John Frame (right) while battling Loyola Maroon's Christopher Nolan (left) during their game on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013, at the Winter Club of Lake Forest. | Buzz Orr~Sun-T
While the Lake Forest and Loyola boys hockey teams skated on a frozen pond, one family watched its youngest representative carry on a familial tradition that was about to expire.
The Scouts hosted an outdoor hockey game on a 50-degree night Jan. 28. Everything at the Winter Club was as you would find it in an indoor rink. All that was missing was a roof.
By nightfall, the unseasonably warm temperature had fallen to a more typical number. There were mobile artificial heaters scattered around the venue for fans who got chilly. Dave and Kate McIlvain stood underneath one. The couple had driven up from Cleveland to watch their grandson Luke Bartuch, the Scouts’ senior captain, play in his last regular season game.
Bartuch’s two older brothers, Bradley and Brett, also played for the Scouts. Bradley Bartuch, 21, is the oldest, having graduated from Lake Forest in 2010 (Brett Bartuch graduated in 2011). Bradley Bartuch started playing hockey when he was 4 years old.
“We happened to be there when the oldest (Bradley Bartuch) had his first practice,” Dave McIlvain said. “The rest is history.”
Kate McIlvain added: “Seventeen years we’ve been watching our grandkids play hockey. This is it tonight.”
Fred Bartuch is Luke Bartuch’s dad and the president of the Lake Forest High School Hockey Association, which runs the team. Ice hockey is not sanctioned by the Illinois High School Association. Teams like the Scouts and their opponent, Loyola Maroon, raise their own money and operate independently under the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois.
Outdoor games — Lake Forest has hosted one the past two seasons — garner more attention for the club.
“We have kids that aren’t normally here because it’s an outdoor game,” Fred Bartuch said. “I think it will be fun that way.”
Encouraged by a Facebook post from Luke Bartuch, Lake Forest students stood on a partition behind the plexiglass. They were quiet until the third period, when the Scouts took over the game. Just before the Scouts began their rally, Bradley Bartuch showed up to join his father, mother (Jill) and grandparents.
Down 2-1 with just under four minutes left in the game, Charlie Sullivan took a feed from Keith Davis and scored on a breakaway. The student body — which included football players Andrew Clifford and Alex Moore — came alive, screaming and pounding the glass.
Thirty-seven seconds later, Luke Bartuch gathered a pass from John Frame in front of the Loyola net and scored the go-ahead goal for Lake Forest. The Scouts added two more goals before the final gun, beating the Ramblers 5-2.
After the game, Bartuch was asked what it meant to play in front of his family — all generations — one last time.
“I had to live up to the family name,” he said, smiling. “I had to come up big tonight, give them something to remember. I think I did well.”
The McIlvains were headed back to Cleveland Jan. 29. They picked the perfect night to watch their grandson play his last home game.
“That is great. Pretty darn good,” Kate McIlvain said. ~.