Metro-area hockey sections will get a major makeover for the 2015 state tournament after the Minnesota State High School League announced a significant realignment involving powerhouse teams.

In Section 2, long the stronghold of Edina, the nine-time defending section champion Hornets are out. They have been moved to Section 6, the state's longtime meat grinder of a section for big schools.

In Section 2, the departure of Edina and Holy Angels to Section 6 and Burnsville and Bloomington Jefferson to Section 3 cleared the way for the arrival of Eden Prairie, Minnetonka and Holy Family Catholic from Section 6.

"We try to compete as best as we possibly can no matter who is in our section," said Edina coach Curt Giles, adding he had no objections to the new assignments. "I think with Wayzata and Hopkins in our same conference [Lake], those are two natural rivals."

Giles and Benilde-St. Margaret's coach Ken Pauly did find it strange that St. Paul-based Cretin-Derham Hall landed in Section 6 with all west-metro programs.

Edina and Benilde-St. Margaret's haven't played each other in the regular season for several years, but that might change now that the teams are in the same section. Pauly said the new Section 6 looks a lot like the old Section 6.

"I'm excited by it," he said. "I think, the opportunity to take on the best teams, you have to embrace that and get pumped about it."


Modifying two-a-days

The tradition of welcoming high school kids back to football season with a week of grueling yet rewarding two-a-day practices has ended.

With an eye on player safety amid growing concussion and heat acclimatization concerns, the Minnesota State High School League Representative Assembly on Friday approved new bylaw language governing the first 18 days of the football season.

Perhaps no change is more significant than mandating any double practice days be followed by a single practice day.

Other changes, which will be implemented for the 2015 season, include mandates for length of practices, length of rest periods and amounts of contact. The changes rewrite an existing bylaw.

The changes are based on the National Athletic Trainers' Association Preseason Heat-Acclimatization Guidelines and recommendations from the National Federation of High School Associations Concussion Summit.

"I'm glad it was passed," said Kevin Merkle, league associate director who oversees football. "We may have to make adjustments as needed, but it's important to move in this direction."