Winter sports begin practice

Garrett Short
Created: January 04, 2021 07:34 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Minnesota high school athletics began practice Monday after the season was pushed back because of the latest shutdown.

This year's start to the season looks different than last year, with coaches focusing more on coaching their athletes about how practice will be conducted safely. Things looked extremely different for the Lourdes boys hockey team as they changed into their gear in the parking lot because the locker rooms at Graham Arena are closed.

"We're certainly excited to be back on the ice but health of our players and families are the most important thing. But there's sure a lot of excitement. I had a lot of texts from the boys, how happy they are to be back at the rink today," Lourdes coach Jeff True said.

Masks are required for athletes in sports like basketball and hockey. Getting comfortable with them will take some time, but Austin girls basketball coach Eric Zoske says it is worth it if they get to play.

"We have to teach ourselves how to breathe and get used to exercise with a mask on," Zoske said. "Over the course of history, both humans and animals have had to adapt. If you can't adapt you can't thrive, so we're going to do the best that we can to adapt to the situation so that we can thrive during the season."

Competing again is a relief for those that got to lace up their shoes or skates on Monday, but being back around friends and getting to return to a routine is just as important.

"My favorite part of wrestling is this, the room, and that's what I miss. I'm ready to compete and all of that but I miss this: the kids, the camaraderie the daily interactions that we have with the kids," Byron wrestling coach Ryan Radke said.

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