The pause on high school sports that started Nov. 21 brought many questions for coaches and athletes. 

When will the winter season start? How long will the season be? Are we even going to have a season?

Those questions have started to be resolved as Gov. Tim Walz announced Wednesday that high school sports and other youth sports can begin practicing on Jan. 4.

As for competitions, there wasn’t a specific date mentioned as more guidance will be provided to the Minnesota State High School League and activities directors at a later date. 

There were mixed emotions as many athletes wanted to start practicing on Monday, but all of them are happy to have a date to start. 

“We have a road map,” said Cathedral hockey coach Derrick Brown. “We can start practicing Jan. 4 and we didn’t have that during the pause, so it’s nice to know a start date for these players and for us as coaches.”

Cathedral activities director Emmett Keenan said he wasn’t surprised by the decision to start practices Jan. 4 because of the interrupted time for the holidays over the next couple weeks. 

Cathedral head coach Derrick Brown talks to his players during a timeout in the third preriod of the 2019 state tournament championship semifinals game Friday, March 8, at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

This Jan. 4 start date gives athletes and coaches time to enjoy the holidays and come back to practice excited and ready to go for 2021. 

Athletes have been doing Zoom calls over the last few weeks for team meetings. They’ve also spent six to seven hours a day on Zoom calls for school as distance learning continues. 

There’s been a balance of not doing too much team Zoom calls, but also having enough to build the team chemistry and check in on the athletes during these hard times. 

Apollo head coach Jason Allen thanks the fans after a win in the Section 8AAA semifinals Friday, March 6, 2020, at Apollo High School.

“The Zoom calls have been used as a way to socialize with teammates and coaches before we get on the court,” said Apollo boys basketball coach Jason Allen. “It’s very different though [being on Zoom].”

Activities directors, coaches and athletes are hoping to practice for a couple weeks and begin competitions in the middle of January, but they’ll have to see what the guidance says from the MSHSL and Walz.