HS winter sports practices begin

by Tom Coombe -

There’s snow on the ground, a few icy sidewalks and the temperatures have even fallen into single digits at times this month.
Winter’s arrival in the Ely area has also come to Ely High School - with the start of the winter sports season.
Practices began earlier this week for the Wolves’ hockey, girls basketball and boys and girls Nordic skiing teams.
Boys basketball practice starts Monday, Nov. 19, and season-opening contests are on the horizon.
• Ely’s hockey program is the smallest in Section 7A and one of the smallest in Minnesota when measured by student enrollment.
Only three schools that play at the 9-man level in high school football offer high school hockey, and two will meet Thanskgiving weekend at Hallock.
That’s when the Wolves open the 2018-19 season with a two-game series against Kittson County Central. Game time is 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 23, with a 1 p.m. contest the following afternoon.
Just over 20 participants are signed up for the team, which is under the leadership of head coach Ben Johnson, who is in his fourth season as head coach and in 2016-17 was named Section 7A Coach of the Year.
• The Ely Nordic Wolves have been already out on the trails in preparation for the new season.
The boys and girls programs combined to have over 50 skiers, who are led by longtime coach Paula Anderson.
Many of the Wolves will travel to West Yellowstone, Montana in late-November for preseason training. The season-opener is set for Dec. 8, whereever there is enough snow to hold a meet.
• The girls basketball team starts practice this week in preparation for a Nov. 29 debut at Nashwauk-Keewatin.
Head Coach Darren Visser leads an Ely team that returns the bulk of its lineup from a team that won 14 games and reached the Section 7A quarterfinals for the first time in a decade.
• Boys basketball practices across Minnesota start next week and the Wolves will get ready for a Dec. 4 tip-off at Two Harbors.
Senior sharpshooter Patrick Vanderbeek heads a list of returning players from a team that reached the Section 7A finals last winter.
Tom McDonald starts his 29th season as head coach.HS winter sports practices begin