Hockey team back on ice after delayed start to season

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Photo submitted by Sydney Scheel

The girls hockey team looks a little different this year. This is a photo from one of their last normal games played before the pandemic, this year the team will be wearing masks on the ice and social distancing in the stands and on the bench as much as possible.

Governor Tim Waltz finally decided to unpause winter sports starting Jan. 4. Hockey players will begin organized practices with the addition of masks and social distancing precautions, such as wearing masks on the bench, in the locker room, and even on the ice. Hockey players have been anxiously waiting to hear if they would have a season or not and are very excited for Jan. 4. 

Parents have noticed their kids are feeling down without sports. She is “definitely restless and excited to get back” Brian Scheel, father of Sydney Scheel, said.

Players have not been able to have practices during this time. Many have been playing hockey on outdoor rinks or on ponds, which are outside and safer from COVID-19. Many hockey players argue that outdoor hockey is not the same as playing in a rink, but it is their only option to skate right now, and a fun way to connect with friends while staying active.

“I’ve just been skating with small groups of friends on backyard rinks and using running and weightlifting to keep in shape and ready for whenever the season does start,” captain of the girls hockey team Sydney Scheel explained.

The team has been uncertain about the fate of their season for a while now, so it is important they stay prepared throughout this all so they are ready to come back strong. 

Hockey is certain to start the 4th, but after the holidays COVID-19 numbers could rise. Players and parents are optimistic that the season will make it all the way through. Last spring, many sports got dropped before they could even fully start due to Coronavirus, and this summer many resumed, but with rising cases and the need to be inside to play, it may be harder to have a full season. As well as the possibility of somebody on the team getting COVID-19 and the rest of them having to quarantine. A two week quarantine during an already shortened season would certainly not be ideal.

With the newer lockdown restrictions I’m hoping the numbers will be down enough for us to start our hockey season.”

— Sydney Scheel

 “With the newer lockdown restrictions I’m hoping the numbers will be down enough for us to start our hockey season,” Sydney said. “Finish it,” Brian added.

Teams have been staying connected over Zoom, some teams do workouts together, some go over plays, or some just try to stay connected during these times. For many, sports seasons are also about seeing their teammates every day, building relationships with others on the team, and having a schedule they are used to every winter. Without having practices or games the last few months, teams haven’t been able to have that. Luckily we are living in a very technological age and teammates have found other ways to keep in touch while apart. 

”We stayed connected with Zoom calls every Monday and talked in our team group chat every once in a while,” sophomore Kylie Ligday said. 

Players have been getting dressed and ready before they get inside so they don’t have to crowd in the locker room. They will be wearing masks at all times and social distancing when possible. The girls are not complaining about the extra precautions they have to follow. They are willing to follow every guideline if it means they get to play. Many are bummed that there is a possibility their friends and families won’t be able to watch them play, but all that matters is that they get to play at all this year.

 “We’re going to wear masks, and just be extra careful, make sure not to share any water bottles,” Ligday explained.

With everything changing so fast it’s hard to know what the next few months will bring, but with fingers crossed, hopefully winter sports will be able to carry out their seasons safely.