DULUTH, MN -- Winter high school sports are back in action in Minnesota, as tryouts and practices began Monday.
"It's a great day for high school hockey," said Mike Randolph, Duluth East head coach.
After state guidelines were relaxed, the Duluth East boy's hockey team finally laced up their skates on Monday.
"I'm pumped. I'm ready to go get the season going. It will be a busy season here," said Eli Fresvik, a Greyhound defenseman.
The Greyhounds will have to act fast with only a handful of practices before their 18 game regular season begins.
"18 is better than 15 or 16 so you got to look at the positive part of it and it could be a lot worse," said Randolph.
A season that will look and feel different, especially for the players on the ice, who will all be wearing masks.
"It's a lot harder because you use your peripherals and the mask blocks your view and breathing is way harder," said Fresvik.
With a delayed start to the season, Randolph says players have found a way to stay busy.
"The kids were finding ponds and lakes and places to skate until all the outdoor rinks got going, and now that the outdoor rinks are going they have been able to find ice. But there is nothing like coming into our home rink and starting our season," said Randolph.
Ultimately when the puck is dropped on the season next Thursday, the Greyhounds will have plenty to play for.
"Butterflies all over. Play Denfeld first game. Big rivalry but I think we are ready to go though," said Fresvik.
Duluth East opens the season up with a match-up against Duluth Denfeld next Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Duluth Heritage Sports Center.