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Hunters Happy to Start Practices on the Ice

Updated: June 23, 2020 10:34 PM

Sports teams across the country are trying to figure how to return to their activities, but to put it simply, it isn't easy.

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"This is not ideal at all," explained Duluth Denfeld boys hockey head coach Dale Jago. "I don't know if I've ever had to organize half ice practices and keep everybody separate. It's a hassle, but we'll make the best of it," he added.

Ice arenas like the Essentia Health Duluth Heritage Center opened up last week, which allowed the Duluth Denfeld boys hockey team to meet for their first on-ice practices of the summer. The consensus among the players was that they were excited to finally get the chance to reunite with their team.

"I missed them so much. I was trying to hang out with them - I got to like hang out with two or three of them because we got to workout in his [coach's] garage, but now that we got the workouts at Denfeld, its awesome," explained senior goaltender Jacob Snyder.

"Oh it's great," added senior defenseman Joe Udd. "It's nice to see everyone again and just get to talk to everybody and play with everybody."

According to health guidelines, two pods of 10 or fewer players and coaches are allowed on the ice at a time and social distancing is recommended. After being cooped up and separated for months, the Hunters are ready to get back to work even if it looks a little different than what they're used to and means they have to get back to those dreaded summer conditioning sessions.

"Some people almost pass out we're running so hard, but its fun," said Snyder. "At the end of the day, you have to have short-term memory loss. It hurts and then you come back and do it again."

After coming off a season where they played for a section title for the first time since 2013, the Hunters know that hard work, works.

"It will be a fun year," added Udd. "We've got a lot of talent coming back and lot of young talent coming up, so we should be pretty good."

"We had some really good results from our guys that worked really hard. One hundred and four workouts and one kid did 102 last year, so we saw the benefits of how much work you put in is what you'll get out," said Jago.

Games and scrimmages for Minnesota youth sports teams can begin Wednesday for outdoor sports and July 1 for indoor sports.

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