GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The Fighting Sioux men’s hockey team is picked to finish in second place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), according to the 38th annual Grand Forks Herald WCHA preseason coaches poll.
UND, which finished second in the league last season and advanced to its fourth consecutive NCAA Frozen Four, received two first-place votes and is projected to finish behind only defending MacNaughton Cup champion Colorado College. The Tigers received the remaining eight first-place votes.
Denver was picked third and Minnesota and Wisconsin tied for fourth place in the voting. St. Cloud State, Minnesota State, Minnesota Duluth, Michigan Tech and Alaska Anchorage are ranked sixth through 10th, respectively.
The poll also revealed that UND freshman forward Jason Gregoire was voted the league’s preseason co-rookie of the year. Gregoire and Minnesota Duluth forward Jack Connolly each received three votes to tie for the honor.
Gregoire, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, spent the past two seasons with the Lincoln Stars of the United States Hockey League (USHL), where he was named the league’s player of the year and forward of the year in 2007-08. Gregoire was also named to the All-USHL First Team last season after amassing 37 goals and 69 points in 54 games. He was drafted by the New York Islanders in the third round (76th overall) of the 2007 National Hockey League Entry Draft.
Colorado College sophomore goaltender Richard Bachman was voted the WCHA preseason player of the year.
The Fighting Sioux take to the ice for the first time on Sunday, Oct. 5, when they host the University of Manitoba in exhibition action at Ralph Engelstad Arena. The puck drops at 6:07 p.m.
Grand Forks Herald WCHA Preseason Coaches Poll
1. Colorado College
2. North Dakota
6. St. Cloud State
7. Minnesota State
8. Minnesota Duluth
9. Michigan Tech
10. Alaska Anchorage
Player of the Year: Richard Bachman, G, Colorado College
Rookie of the Year (tie): Jason Gregoire, F, UND & Jack Connolly, F, Minnesota Duluth