MSHSL’s COVID-19 winter sports restrictions


Donald Thai, Sports Writer

Winter sports have looked much different this year. Literally. 


Under the state’s executive order, players are mandated to wear masks during practice and competitions. Any sports that include helmets, like ice hockey, maybe suited with an integrated mask in their helmet or have a full face shield. According to MSHSL mask mandates, the only sports that are exempt from wearing masks during competitions are wrestling, gymnastics, cheerleading, swimming, diving, and nordic and alpine skiing.


Many athletes understand that these changes must be made in order to maintain the safety that is required under COVID-19 restrictions. Although wearing masks may seem like an impediment to a player’s performance, this is truly not the case. Athletes have been able to quickly adapt to these changes and still perform at their highest level. 


Not only are there a limited number of fans that can attend competitions, but everyone, including coaches, parents, and officials must wear masks at all times as well. Physical distancing must be in effect, and it is recommended that spectators spread out as far as twelve feet apart. Player benches look much different as well. Benches must be spread out at least six feet apart to maintain physical distancing. 


Sports fans, players, and coaches have all been affected by these winter sports changes. Although there are fewer fans that are able to attend competitions, sports teams are still getting the same amount of support. Players are still able to have a complete season and enjoy playing the sports that they love. Hopefully, this will be the first and the only year that athletes, teams, and spectators will have to follow strict guidelines in order to lessen the spread of COVID-19.