The Eighth District Division II field includes one new team this summer - Brookston - but overall the division has two fewer teams than in 2009.
Gone are Carlton and Nashwauk-Keewatin, while Moose Lake has moved up to Division I competition. Ely will look to knock off defending district champion Esko, which edged out Post 248 for the title last summer.
Deer River, one of two remaining unbeaten teams in the Section 7A high school tournament, has nearly all of its roster back from last summer and may top the list of district contenders. Marble, which has picked up several players from Nashwauk-Keewatin, may also be strong.
The rest of the district includes Ely, Chisholm, Cook County and Aurora. Brookston, which includes players from AlBrook high school as well as neighboring Cotton, has returned to the district after a several-year absence.
Regular season play runs through mid-July and Ely will host the district playoffs, starting July 20. The district champion advances to the state tournament at Dilworth, located near Moorhead in western Minnesota.