College Hockey:
Defending Champs Top Men’s Division III League Coaches’ Polls

Preseason coaches’ polls were released for the ECAC East, ECAC West, SUNYAC and NCHA, and in all cases the coaches don’t see a lot changing at the top in their respective leagues.

Defending NCAA Division III champion Norwich is a near unanimous choice to repeat as league champs in the 2003-04 ECAC East Coaches’ Poll. The Cadets got eight of nine first place votes, far outpacing second place New England College.

Skidmore begins its final season of varsity hockey picked to finish eighth in the standings.

ECAC East Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Norwich (8) 64
2. New England Coll. (1) 54
3. Babson 49
4. Salem State 44
5. St. Anselm 35
6. St. Michael’s 27
7. Southern Maine 25
8. Skidmore 18
9. Mass.-Boston 8

Elmira was picked by league coaches to repeat as ECAC West champions in 2003-04. Four different teams garnered first place votes besides the Soaring Eagles, making this the most balanced poll in league history.

ECAC West Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Elmira (2) 22
2. Manhattanville (1) 18
2. RIT (1) 18
4. Hobart (2) 17
5. Utica 10
6. Neumann 5

SUNYAC coaches have picked Oswego to defend its conference championship. The Lakers received seven of a possible eight first-place votes.

Last year Oswego finished 25-7-1 overall, 10-3-1 in the SUNYAC and advanced to the Division III NCAA Championship game. Last year’s league runner-up, Plattsburgh, received the other first place vote and is expected to finish second again.

SUNYAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. Oswego (7) 49
2. Plattsburgh (1) 43
3. Geneseo 37
4. Potsdam 29
5. Fredonia 27
6. Buffalo State 18
7. Cortland 12
8. Brockport 9

St. Norbert received six of eight first place votes to top the NCHA preseason coaches’ poll. The Green Knights finished first last season and advanced to the Division III Frozen Four.

Wisconsin-River Falls, the other NCHA team to make the NCAA tournament last season, garnered the other two first place votes and is predicted to finish second.

NCHA Preseason Coaches’ Poll
1. St. Norbert (6) 60
2. Wisconsin-River Falls (2) 56
3. Wisconsin-Superior 46
4. Wisconsin-Stevens Point 42
5. Lake Forest 35
6. St. Scholastica 22
7. Wisconsin-Stout 17
8. Wisconsin-Eau Claire 10

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