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 Three Lakes volleyball team winning the Northern Lakes Conference (NLC) championship and reaching the Sectional final, and the Northland Pines and Three Lakes cross-county teams sending runners to the Sectional. 

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 and boys basketball and wrestling (co-op with Phelps) at Three Lakes, and boys basketball at Phelps.

Practices are underway for all teams and game schedules kick off this week for some teams. Unfortunately, there’s a good chance the schedules will get changed numerous times this winter due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Northland Pines boys hockey team is under the direction of fifth-year coach David Cox, though he coached previously at Pines. The Eagles made a nice run to the Division 2 State tournament last winter, falling in the State championship. The boys hockey team is scheduled to open its season against Rhinelander at the Dome on Thursday, Dec. 3. 

The girls hockey team, under the direction of coach Patrick Schmidt, finished a solid 16-5-2 last season. The girls hockey team will open its season Friday, Dec. 4, against Rhinelander, also in Eagle River.

In girls basketball, Northland Pines and fourth-year coach Josh Olivotti are ready for the season. The Eagles were scheduled to open at Three Lakes on Tuesday of this week in a nonconference game.

The Three Lakes girls plan on having a good season in the NLC under the guidance of first-year coach George Lurvey, though Lurvey assisted coach Michelle Brown for several years. 

In boys basketball, the Northland Pines Eagles will be led by second-year coach Terry Klemett. The Eagles were 15-10 last year and are looking to be very competitive in the Great Northern Conference.

The Three Lakes boys, under the direction of second-year coach Brian Diorio, a former Three Lakes player, will face Northland Pines next Tuesday, Dec. 1, in a nonconference game.

The Phelps boys will be coached by fifth-year coach Chris Rader. The Knights are scheduled to face Three Lakes Dec. 8 to open the season.

The Three Lakes-Phelps wrestling team has a little time off yet under fourth-year coach Seth Senter, and won’t have a match until Dec. 4, hosting Lakeland.

Good luck to all the area high school sports teams.