Standing by in sports, Sunday, Friday, Oct. 9

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After discussions with regional coaches, the Detroit Lakes boys hockey team will not be playing in a Bridge season prior to the start of the regular MSHSL season. Robert Williams / Tribune

No Bridge hockey season

The Minnesota Hockey Coaches Association collected data and presented several plans for the high school season prior to the Minnesota High School League’s decision on winter sports. Ultimately, the MSHSL presented an 18-game season, which was less than was the coaches association wanted.

The association partnered with Minnesota Hockey to offer our players the opportunity to play in a Bridge Season that would begin on October 26 and run through November 21.

Detroit Lakes head coach Ben Noah communicated with coaches from Warroad, East Grand Forks, Moorhead, Fergus Falls and Alexandria and preliminary discussions did not garner much interest in the Bridge season. A full decision is not set in stone.

“We have all agreed to be in contact if anything is starting to change,” said Noah.


Four main reasons for not participating were:

  • Costs - play would not be funded by the school district. Most likely, families would be footing the bill.

  • Travel - Play makes more sense for metro teams because kids can drive themselves and show up to play at rinks within 20 minutes, as opposed to up north travel which would require a bus and much farther distances.

  • Coaching - Under MSHSL bylaws, all high school coaches would not get to coach their team.

  • Fall sport participants still playing would potentially be unavailable for hockey

The coaches did agree that if the season would have been delayed until a January start, a Bridge season would have been organized, but that looks unlikely now.
“This eliminates the pressure of any kid thinking he needs to be on the ice while he is playing football while also not allowing bad habits or poor behavior to form while not under the supervision of their normal coaching staff,” Noah said.

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While full stands like a typical Detroit Lakes versus Perham basketball game are still a thing of the past, a few fans will be allowed at fall activities making way for likely attendance allowed at winter indoor activities as well after new allowances announced by the MSHSL Thursday. Robert Williams / Tribune

Fans allowed at fall events

In the ever changing rules of high school sports, the MSHSL will allow fans at some fall sports after new information was released by the Minnesota Department of Education.

Two fans per participant will be allowed to attend indoor events. Prior to the updated guidance, no spectators were allowed.

One local sport that will not be going with the change is swimming and diving at Detroit Lakes due to limited occupancy at the DLCCC. Currently, the DL team uses the spectator area as their bench.


The newly-released guidelines apply to all indoor sports, concerts, plays, competitions, performances, and any other similar events that have spectators. The guidance is specific to events that take place in a school building or facility where instruction takes place. Events held at these facilities must abide by the following parameters:

Spectators must be separated by at least six feet between households/spectator groups and event spaces cannot exceed 25 percent of total capacity.

Stricter allowances are in effect for smaller venues.

School districts and charter schools must require advanced reservations and/or ticketing (electronic or will call). Walk-up sales will not be allowed. The gathering of names, phone numbers and/or email addresses must be collected as part of the reservation so that quick notification can be done if an individual develops COVID-19.

Schools must schedule arrival times for longer than their typical duration to minimize the congregation of spectators waiting. They must establish staggered admission times, entry times and durations to minimize overlap and congregating of spectators at access points, security checkpoints, admission areas, concession areas, etc.

Robert Williams has been a sports editor for Forum Communications in Perham and Detroit Lakes since 2011.
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