BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Sept. 11, 2019 – Defending national champion Wisconsin is the unanimous pick among league head coaches to win the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Women's League regular season title.
The Badgers, who also won the WCHA playoff championship last season en route to their fifth national title, collected 36 points and six first place votes in preseason polling among the WCHA's seven bench bosses. Defending WCHA regular season champion Minnesota received the remaining first place vote and tallied 31 points in the poll.
Ohio State finished third with 24 points to edge out fourth-place Minnesota Duluth (23 points). Bemidji State (15), Minnesota State (12) and St. Cloud State (6) rounded out this year's poll.
Emma Maltais, Ohio State's junior forward, and Abby Roque, Wisconsin's senior forward, each received two votes in a crowded field for WCHA Preseason Player of the Year honors. The duo edged out Ohio State senior defenseman Jincy Dunne, Wisconsin sophomore forward Sophie Shirley and Minnesota junior forward Grace Zumwinkle who each received one vote apiece.
The WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Year selection is Minnesota freshman defenseman Madeline Wethington, the 2019 Minnesota Ms. Hockey award winner. Wethington received three votes, with the others going to St. Cloud State forward Klara Hymlarova and Wisconsin forwards Dara Grieg and Grace Shirley (the sister of Sophie Shirley, last year's WCHA Women's Rookie of the Year).
The loaded Preseason All-WCHA Team features Jincy Dunne, who was a unanimous coaches' pick after being named last season's WCHA Defenseman of the Year, and Wisconsin's Mekenzie Steffen on defense. The forwards are Emma Maltais, Grace Zumwinkle, Abby Roque and Sophie Shirley with Roque and Shirley tying for the third forward spot. Wisconsin's Kristen Campbell rounds out the team at goaltender.
The WCHA opens its 21st season the weekend of Sept. 21-22 as Minnesota hosts the Toronto Aeros and Minnesota Whitecaps in a pair of exhibition games. The puck drops on the regular season the weekend of Sept. 27-28 with four non-conference series and three exhibition games while league play begins Oct. 4-5 with Ohio State at St. Cloud State and Minnesota at Minnesota State. The 2019 WCHA Final Faceoff will return to Ridder Area in Minneapolis the weekend of March 7-8, 2020.
Every game in 2019-20 hosted by Bemidji State, Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State and St. Cloud State, along with the WCHA Final Faceoff and select games hosted by Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin, will be streamed live and on-demand exclusively on FloHockey.tv.
|2019-20 WCHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll|
|Rk||Team (1st place votes)||Points|
|7.||St. Cloud State State||6|
|Predicted order of finish. Based on a 6-5-4-3-2-1 scale. Coaches could not vote for their own teams.|
Preseason WCHA Player of the Year
Abby Roque, Sr., F, Wisconsin (2 votes) and Emma Maltais, Jr., F, Ohio State (2 votes)
Others receiving votes: Jincy Dunne, Sr., D, Ohio State (1); Sophie Shirley, So., F, Wisconsin (1); Grace Zumwinkle, Jr., F, Minnesota (1)
Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year
Madeline Wethington, Fr., D, Minnesota (3)
Others receiving votes: Grace Shirley, Fr., F, Wisconsin (2); Dara Grieg, Fr., F. Wisconsin (1); Klara Hymlarova, Fr., F, St. Cloud State (1)
F: Emma Maltais, Jr., Ohio State
F: Grace Zumwinkle, Jr., Minnesota
F: Abby Roque, Sr., Wisconsin (tie)
F: Sophie Shirley, So., Wisconsin (tie)
D: Jincy Dunne, Sr., Ohio State (unanimous)
D: Mekenzie Steffen, Sr., Wisconsin
G: Kristen Campbell, Sr., Wisconsin
Others receiving votes (listed alphabetically by position): Forwards – Clair DeGeorge, Jr., Bemidji State; Gabbie Hughes, Sr., Minnesota Duluth; Sarah Potomak, Sr., Minnesota;. Defensemen – Emily Brown, Jr., Minnesota; Patti Marshall, Sr., Minnesota. Goaltender – Emma Polusny, Jr., St. Cloud State; Maddie Rooney, Sr., Minnesota Duluth
WCHA Preseason Media Teleconference Audio
WCHA Vice President and Women's League Commissioner Jennifer Flowers
Bemidji State Head Coach Jim Scanlan
Minnesota Head Coach Brad Frost
Minnesota Duluth Head Coach Maura Crowell
Minnesota State Head Coach John Harrington
Ohio State Head Coach Nadine Muzerall
St. Cloud State Head Coach Steve Macdonald
Wisconsin Head Coach Mark Johnson
About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association
The Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association will mark its 21st season in 2019-20. The nation's premier women's hockey conference, WCHA member institutions have won a record 17 national championships since the league's inception in 1999 (including 16 of a possible 19 NCAA titles), while producing seven Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners, 101 All-Americans and numerous Olympic and national team members. The seven-team, NCAA Division I conference consists of: Bemidji State University (Beavers), the University of Minnesota (Golden Gophers), the University of Minnesota Duluth (Bulldogs), Minnesota State University (Mavericks), Ohio State University (Buckeyes), St. Cloud State University (Huskies) and the University of Wisconsin (Badgers). For more information, visit www.wcha.com.