The WCHA Preseason Coaches Poll was released yesterday. The biggest difference between that and the media poll came in the Player of the Year voting, where media player of the year Jason Zucker didn't receive any votes from the coaches. The Pioneers were still the heavy favorite in the coaches' poll, however.
The CCHA also released their preseason polls yesterday, and Notre Dame was the top-ranked team in both polls.
Next year's season-opening Icebreaker Tournament will be held at Kansas City's Sprint Center and feature Notre Dame, Nebraska-Omaha, Army, and Maine. I've never been a huge fan of trading atmosphere for large, neutral site buildings, but as we've learned this summer, you can't put a dollar value on entertaining atmosphere, which means it's worthless. Kansas City, for their part, seems intent on doing everything they can to make this a success with an eye on the end goal of eventually winning a bid to host a Frozen Four.
College Hockey News has a great rundown on Notre Dame's situation, and the impact it could have on the rest of college hockey. Notre Dame's decision is down to either Hockey East or the Page 8s, with Hockey East thought to be holding a slight edge.
CHN also talked with Colorado College athletic director Ken Ralph who confirmed that the Page 8s won't expand beyond nine teams, and would only go that high for Notre Dame. Also, this was maybe a given when the league expanded to eight teams, but Ralph says every team will play in every building each year, meaning a 28-game conference schedule.
From the league's perspective, this is a very good thing. A big part of the reason the CHL has become a more attractive option for aspiring NHL players is the lack of meaningful games in the NCAA, and cutting that number by 25% with a 20-game conference schedule wouldn't have helped matters.
But it's also bad news for the teams left out of the conference. A 28-game conference schedule leaves those teams with only three non-conference series to schedule. Factor in that scheduling games against Big Ten schools is a near necessity for these NCHC schools, and that leaves one, maybe two series open. The first priority for scheduling those remaining series would be always playing the games at home, because revenue is king, and the second priority would be racking up easy wins because those might be difficult to come by in conference play. There's a lot of eastern schools that fit that criteria, and almost none in the west that do. The bottom line is that I see a team like St. Cloud being much more likely to continue their storied rivalry with Quinnipiac over continuing to play the schools they "pledged to support".
If you'll recall, this summer Moorhead said they had $15 million in soft commitments, and needed to raise the remaining $22 million they needed to fund the program in three months to make this work. I had mentioned it was kind of weird that we hadn't heard anything about people donating money since then, but it's becoming clear why. With 17 days left until the three-month deadline, Moorhead is still at the same $15 million mark. As a result, they've now Notre Damed the deadline back to January, and said they only need 80% of the $37 million they're looking for, which would mean doubling what they've already received. They're still looking to join the WCHA, so maybe the big money donors are just waiting to see if the WCHA can snag Robert Morris before signing their checks.