Practices begin for EHS winter sports

by Tom Coombe

Winter is in the air, not only outdoors with recent blasts of cold air, but indoors as well with the start of practices for high school winter athletic teams.<BR><BR>Both the hockey and girls basketball teams begin the long winter grind with their first practice sessions today.<BR><BR>At the Ely Arena, second-year head coach Brian Ensign and his staff welcome a Timberwolves team looking to rebound after a stormy season a year ago.<BR><BR>Ely enters the season with hopes of improvement after a 7-18 season in 2003-2004.<BR><BR>The hockey program is bolstered by players from both Tower-Soudan and Babbitt-Embarrass, through a cooperative agreement.<BR><BR>Ely opens its season Nov. 19 against Bagley.<BR><BR>Meanwhile, the brand-new area girls high school hockey team, based in Babbitt-Embarrass but with players from Tower-Soudan and Ely, as well, has been at it for a week with practices at the Babbitt Arena.<BR><BR>High school girls basketball teams around Minnesota can also start practice today, and the Wolves need to rebuild a bit after graduating several seniors from a team that advanced to the Section 7AA quarterfinals last season.<BR><BR>Judy Klun, in the second season of her second stint as head coach, welcomes back returning starter Jackie Lekatz.<BR><BR>Ely begins its season Nov. 23 with a matchup against International Falls.<BR><BR>Ely’s high school boys basketball team starts practice next week in preparation for a Nov. 30 season-opener with Babbitt-Embarrass, while the cross country skiing team is eligible to begin dryland workouts.<BR><BR>