With apologies to the Rolling Stones: The Bemidji Pioneer WCHA Preseason Media Poll is complete. I have survived.
As expected, Minnesota State was nearly unanimous in both polls.
In the media poll, the Mavericks garnered 22 of 25 first-place votes. Ferris State, a solid second, got two first place votes.
Now, this is where it gets weird.
Bemidji State received a first-place vote and finished eighth in the media poll.
Yeah, that’s right. The Beavers got a first-place vote.
I’ve been asked a million times who voted for Bemidji State in the poll. I’m not in the business of telling people who voted for whom. I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus, if they want to explain their reasoning they’re free to do so, but I won’t force them to.
All I can tell you is: I didn’t vote for the Beavers to finish first. Neither did any other members of the Bemidji media.
I did have BSU higher than most: I picked the Beavers to take fifth. A little generous? Possibly. But the newly-realigned WCHA is wide open. And I think the Beavers have the potential to be a lot better than they showed last season — especially if Andrew Walsh stays hot all season and the younger front line can score with consistency.
But first place? That’s asking a heck of a lot.
Here’s my full ballot, for good measure:
1. Minnesota State
2. Ferris State
4. Northern Michigan
5. Bemidji State
6. Bowling Green
7. Lake Superior State
8. Michigan Tech
9. Alabama Huntsville
10. Alaska Anchorage
In hindsight, I think I picked Tech too low. Also, Huntsville and Anchorage in the bottom two spots seems like a given — although I may have flip-flopped the two, I don’t think it matters much because I doubt either will be competing for a playoff spot this year.
I did vote for some BSU players for the All-WCHA teams. Here’s my choices for the All-League, and Player and Rookie of the year votes.
Forwards: Matt Leitner, MSU; Alex Petan, Tech; Ryan Carpenter, BGSU
Defensemen: Matt Prapavessis, BSU; Travis Binkley, Ferris
Goaltender: Andrew Walsh, BSU
Player of the Year: Leitner
Rookie of the Year: Brendan Harms, BSU
As for my rookie vote: That award is a crapshoot. Harms is one guy I’d been hearing a lot about from people outside Bemidji. So I picked him. In reality: Who the heck knows with the rookie votes?
I think the main thing to glean from both the media and the coaches polls this year is that, aside from Minnesota State being really good, nobody knows anything.
Which makes this league even more fun than it had been in years past.
During the WCHA coaches teleconference on Wednesday, that was cleat. Bowling Green head coach Chris Bergeron said he wasn’t very familiar with any of the teams in the new league so it was hard for him to vote. Most of them had similar comments.
I’ll have a few more things on the upcoming hockey season this week. First, look for a piece on the BSU women’s hockey team in Thursday’s paper. They open their season this weekend (yeah, I know, it seems early) at Lindenwood in Missouri.