The changing of the season from fall to winter also means a new season for high school sports, with hockey, basketball and wrestling getting underway for players and coaches.

There were some exciting sports stories during the fall, including the Northland Pines boys soccer team winning the Great Northern Conference (GNC) championship and the Regional final, the Northland Pines and Three Lakes-Phelps football team reaching the post-season playoffs and the Three Lakes cross-county team sending two runners to the State Meet.

But now it’s time for a new chapter in the high school sports scene. On tap this winter are girls and boys hockey and basketball at Northland Pines, girls basketball at Three Lakes, boys basketball at Three Lakes and Phelps, and wrestling at Three Lakes. Phelps will not have girls basketball this winter.

Girls basketball practice started Nov. 5 at Northland Pines and Three Lakes, while boys basketball at the three schools started Nov. 12. Meanwhile, hockey teams also started practicing Nov. 12, and kick off their schedules this week. 

The Eagles boys hockey team is under the direction of third-year coach David Cox, though he coached previously at Pines. The Eagles finished 19-6 overall and 12-1 in the GNC last season, good for a first-place tie with Antigo. The boys hockey team was scheduled to open its season with a nonconference game against D.C. Everest at the Dome on Tuesday of this week. 

The girls hockey team is under the direction of coach Patrick Schmidt. The Eagles were 6-2-1 in the GNC last season, good for second place behind Lakeland-Tomahawk and finished 8-14-1 overall. The girls hockey team opened at the Waupun tournament last weekend and won’t play again until Dec. 1 when the Eagles host Chippewa Falls.

In girls basketball, Northland Pines and second-year coach Josh Olivotti are ready for the season but only have two returning letterwinners. The Eagles were scheduled to open at Three Lakes on Tuesday of this week. The Three Lakes girls opened against Pines on Tuesday of this week. The Bluejays plan on having a good season in the Northern Lakes Conference (NLC) under the guidance of coach Michele Brown. 

In boys basketball, the Northland Pines Eagles will be led by third-year coach Troy Pieper. Pines was scheduled to play at Three Lakes on Tuesday of this week in the annual Paddle Game. The Eagles have six returning letterwinners this season, including junior Ryan Peterson, who averaged 17.3 points per game last year in the GNC. Three Lakes, under the direction of fifth-year coach Ryan Bock, a former Three Lakes player, was scheduled to host Pines on Tuesday. The Bluejays will play at Laona-Wabeno on Tuesday, Nov. 29, in the first NLC game of the season. The Phelps boys will be coached by third-year coach Chris Rader. Phelps is coming off an appearance in the WIAA Sectional last season. The Knights were scheduled to host Butternut on Tuesday of this week and will host Mellen Nov. 27 in a pair of nonconference games to start the season.

The Three Lakes wrestling team has a little time off yet under second-year coach Seth Senter, and won’t have a match until Saturday, Dec. 1, at Antigo for a tournament and will start NLC action Dec. 6 at Crivitz.

While it’s not a high school team, the Eagle River Falcons men’s hockey team will provide plenty of action at the Eagle River Sports Arena this winter. The Falcons play in the Great Lakes Hockey League and third-year coach Mike Otto is looking for an upper-level finish in the league. The Falcons will host Fox Cities this Saturday, Nov. 24, at the Dome starting at 8 p.m.