BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Nov. 16, 2020 – Defending regular season champion Wisconsin is the pick among league head coaches to win the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Women's League 2020-21 regular season title.
The Badgers totaled 34 points and four first place votes in preseason polling among the WCHA's seven bench bosses. Minnesota received three first place votes and tallied 31 points in the poll.
Ohio State finished third with 28 points to edge out fourth-place Minnesota Duluth (21 points). Bemidji State (14), Minnesota State (13) and St. Cloud State (6) rounded out this year's poll.
Daryl Watts, Wisconsin's senior forward was named WCHA Preseason Player of the Year, edging out Ohio State senior forward Emma Maltais, Minnesota senior forward Grace Zumwinkle and Minnesota Duluth junior forward Gabbie Hughes.
The WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Year selection is Minnesota freshman forward Abbey Murphy. Murphy received four votes, with Gopher forward Anne Cherkowsi, St. Cloud State forward Emma Gentry and Wisconsin forward Casey O'Brien also receiving votes.
The loaded Preseason All-WCHA Team features Ohio State's Emma Maltais, Wisconsin's Daryl Watts and Sophie Shirley at forward with Minnesota Duluth's Ashton Bell and Minnesota's Emily Brown on the blueline. Ohio State's Andrea Braendli rounds out the team at goaltender.
The WCHA opens its 22nd season the weekend of Nov. 20-22 as Minnesota State hosts Minnesota Duluth and Minnesota hosts Ohio State.
|2020-21 WCHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll|
|Rk||Team (1st place votes)||Points|
|7.||St. Cloud 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
Daryl Watts, Sr., F, Wisconsin (3 votes)
Others receiving votes: Emma Maltais, Sr., F, Ohio State (2); Grace Zumwinkle, Sr., F, Minnesota (1); Gabbie Hughes, Jr., F, Minnesota Duluth (1).
Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year
Abbey Murphy, Fr., F, Minnesota (4)
Others receiving votes: Anne Cherkowski, Fr., F, Minnesota (1); Emma Gentry, Fr., F, St. Cloud State (1); Casey O'Brien, Fr., F, Wisconsin (1).
F: Emma Maltais, Sr., Ohio State
F: Daryl Watts, Sr., Wisconsin
F: Sophie Shirley, Jr., Wisconsin
D: Ashton Bell, Sr., Minnesota Duluth
D: Emily Brown, Sr., Minnesota
G: Andrea Braendli, Jr., Ohio State
Others receiving votes (listed alphabetically by position): Forwards – Clair DeGeorge, Sr., Bemidji State; Taylor Heise, Jr., Minnesota; Gabbie Hughes, Jr., Minnesota Duluth; Klára Hymlárová, So., St. Cloud State; Grace Zumwinkle, Sr. Minnesota. Defensemen – Grace Bowlby, Sr., Wisconsin; Sophie Jaques, Jr., Ohio State; Olivia Knowles, Sr., Minnesota; Anna Wilgren, Jr., Minnesota State. Goaltender – Calla Frank, So., Minnesota State; Emma Polusny, Sr., St. Cloud State.
About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association
The Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association will mark its 22nd season in 2020-21. 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, 105 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), The Ohio State University (Buckeyes), St. Cloud State University (Huskies) and the University of Wisconsin (Badgers). The WCHA will grow to eight members with the addition of the University of St. Thomas (Tommies) beginning with the 2021-22 season. For more information, visit wcha.com.