As Unanimously as Possible, WCHA Coaches Pick Minnesota

WCHA coaches have made Minnesota an overwhelming favorite to win the league’s regular-season title.

The two-time defending national champions received a maximum nine votes (coaches cannot rank their own team) and head the WCHA coaches poll conducted by the Grand Forks Herald.

North Dakota was second with one first-place vote. Colorado College and Minnesota-Duluth tied for third place, and Denver rounded out the top five.

Minnesota State, fresh off its first appearance in the Division I NCAA tournament last season, was picked for sixth. Wisconsin was seventh, with St. Cloud State eighth, Michigan Tech ninth and Alaska-Anchorage 10th.

The Gophers won national championships in 2002 and last season after missing out on the MacNaughton Cup. They finished in third place in 2002 and tied for second last season.

Six coaches picked Minnesota sophomore forward Thomas Vanek as the preseason favorite for the league player of the year award, while Wisconsin defenseman Ryan Suter is the favorite to win the rookie of the year award.