Media Days And Such

You know a given sports season is just around the corner when conferences start holding media days — you know, the schmooze sessions the conferences hold so that reporters can get a ton of the same quotes from a coach and one or two players.

Well, it’s just about a month until the college hockey season and conferences everywhere are gathering to address the media.

Both new conferences — the Big Ten and the NCHC — gathered Thursday for their media days. The Big Ten held its pow-wow at the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul while the NCHC was across the metro area at the Target Center.

(Yeah, I know. Crazy, right? The NCHC directly competing with the Big Ten? It’s almost like they started a whole new conference just to prove something… oh wait.)

Anyway, I digress.

The WCHA isn’t going to have a media day this year, but it will have a conference call next week.

I’m also excited to announce — as I have alluded to on Twitter — that the Bemidji Pioneer conducting this year’s WCHA media poll. We’ll release it next Wednesday in advance of the conference call with coaches; Shane Frederick of the Mankato Free Press is conducting the coaches poll which will be released the same day.

The NCHC and Big Ten did, however, release their media polls today.

Miami tops the NCHC poll while Wisconsin actually beat out Minnesota for the Big Ten poll. Here’s a look:

Big Ten
1. Wisconsin
2. Minnesota
3. Michigan
4. (tie) Michigan State
4. (tie) Ohio State
6. Penn State

Players to watch: Kyle Rau, F, Minnesota (unanimous pick); Alex Guptill, F, Michigan; Matt Berry, F, Michigan State; Ryan Dzingel, F, Ohio State; Max McCormick, F, Ohio State; Nic Kerdiles, F, Wisconsin; Michael Mersch, F, Wisconsin; Mark Zengerle, F, Wisconsin; Mac Bennett, D, Michigan; Mike Reilly, D, Minnesota; Jake McCabe, D, Wisconsin; Adam Wilcox, G, Minnesota; Jake Hildebrand, G, Michigan State.

1. Miami (7 first-place votes)
2. North Dakota (5)
3. St. Cloud State (4)
4. Denver
5. Western Michigan
6. Minnesota Duluth
7. Colorado College
8. Nebraska Omaha

Bemidji State plays Minnesota out of the Big Ten and also plays all of the top three NCHC schools in nonconference play. Not too shabby.

As always follow Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald for coverage of the NCHC, he’s at media day today.

Hockey East and the ECAC haven’t released their preseason polls yet but Atlantic Hockey did; looks like the league will be very balanced this year with four teams getting at least two first-place votes.

Atlantic Hockey
1. Niagara (3)
2. (tie) Mercyhurst (4)
2. (tie) Air Force (2)
4. Canisius (3)
5. RIT
6. Connecticut
7. Robert Morris
8. Holy Cross
9. Bentley
10. Army
11. American International
12. Sacred Heart
BSU women picked seventh
The Bemidji State women’s hockey team was picked to finish tied for seventh out of eight teams in the WCHA’s coaches poll.
Unsurprisingly, Minnesota was chosen to finish first and received seven first-place votes. You can’t vote for your own team in the coaches poll so Wisconsin got the charity first-place vote from Gopher coaches.
The BSU women hope to rebound this year from an awful 2012-13 season that saw them go 6-26-2 overall and 5-22-1 in the conference. They will open the season next Friday — Sept. 27 — at Lindenwood University in Missouri.
I’ll have a preview of the team next week.