A panel of 25 members of the WCHA voted tabbed defending WCHA regular season champion Minnesota to repeat as league champions. The Golden Gophers received 24 of 25 first-place votes, with UND receiving the only other first-place nod.
No. 3 Denver, No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 5 Minnesota Duluth rounded out the top five.
UND freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi was named the league's preseason rookie of the year after receiving 8 ½ votes. Grimaldi received the same honor in last season's poll before missing all but four games due to a knee injury. He will retain his freshman status for the 2012-13 season.
UND will open the season with exhibition games against Manitoba (Oct. 6) and the U.S. Under-18 Team (Oct. 12) before kicking off the regular season Oct. 19-20 at the Brice Alaska Goal Rush tournament in Fairbanks.
94X WCHA PRESEASON MEDIA POLL
(1st place votes)
1. Minnesota (24)
2. North Dakota (1)
5. Minnesota Duluth
6. St. Cloud State
7. Colorado College
8. Nebraska Omaha
9. Michigan Tech
10. Minnesota State
11. Bemidji State
12. Alaska Anchorage
PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Nick Bjugstad, forward, Minnesota (16 votes)
Others receiving more than one vote: Erik Haula, forward, Minnesota (4); Mark Zengerle, forward, Wisconsin (3)
PRESEASON ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Rocco Grimaldi, forward, North Dakota (8 1/2 votes)
Others receiving more than one vote: Nic Kerdiles, forward, Wisconsin (5); Jordan Schmaltz, defenseman, North Dakota (2 1/2); Brady Skjei, defenseman, Minnesota (2); Andy Welinski, defenseman, Minnesota Duluth (2)
PRESEASON ALL-WCHA TEAM
Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota (20 votes); Mark Zengerle, Wisconsin (17); Ben Hanowski, St. Cloud State (8)
Others receiving more than one vote: Danny Kristo, North Dakota (7); Erik Haula, Minnesota (6); Rylan Schwartz, Colorado College (5); Corban Knight, North Dakota (3)
Joey LaLeggia, Denver (20 votes); Nick Jensen, St. Cloud State (9)
Others receiving more than one vote: Nate Schmidt, Minnesota (7); Wade Bergman, Minnesota Duluth (3)
Sam Brittain, Denver and Josh Thorimbert, Colorado College (7 1/2 votes each)
Others receiving more than one vote: Juho Olkinuora, Denver (3), Joel Rumpel, Wisconsin (2)