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Best of the West: Ranking the Teams of College Hockey's New Conferences

How do the teams in college hockey's new conferences compare against each other?

Miami and Wisconsin should battle it out as two of the best in the country
Miami and Wisconsin should battle it out as two of the best in the country
Larry Radloff Photography

A new college hockey season is upon us, and for fans in the western part of the country, this year will be a completely new experience for them. We've already previewed each of the new conferences, but what good does a conference ranking do if you've never seen half the teams in your new conference, and couldn't find some of them on a map(Trick question. 'Kalamazoo' is a fictional place, and thus, can't be found on any map)?

To help ease that transition, we've combined the three western conferences into one 24-team super ranking for the WCHA/B1G/NCHC to give fans some idea of how their team stacks up to some of their old rivals.

1. Miami

2. Wisconsin

3.North Dakota

4. St. Cloud

5. Minnesota

6. Minnesota State

7. Western Michigan

8. Ferris State

9. Nebraska-Omaha

10. Michigan

11. Michigan Tech

12. Denver

13. Alaska

14. Michigan State

15. Minnesota-Duluth

16. Bemidji State

17. Bowling Green

18.  Ohio State

19. Colorado College

20. Lake Superior

21. Alaska-Anchorage

22. Penn State

23. Northern Michigan

24. Alabama-Huntsville

The line for teams that will make the NCAA tournament is probably somewhere around the top 8-9. That number could stretch a little more if teams play well against eastern opponents, or shrink a little with any upsets in the conference tournaments. And those conference tourney upsets seem a lot more likely this year, with fewer at-large spots in each conference.

Also, here is our preseason western All-America team:

1st Team

F-Austin Czarnik, Miami

F- Ryan Walters, Nebraska-Omaha

F- Matt Leitner, Minnesota State

D-Joey LaLeggia, Denver

D-Jake McCabe, Wisconsin

G-Adam Wilcox, Minnesota

2nd Team

F-Mark Zengerle, Wisconsin

F-Nic Kerdiles, Wisconsin

F-Chase Balisy, Western Michigan

D-Dillon Simpson, North Dakota

D-Mac Bennett, Michigan

G-Ryan McKay, Miami

All-Rookie Team

F-Taylor Cammarata, Minnesota

F-Dom Toninato, Minnesota-Duluth

F-Jake Guentzel, Nebraska-Omaha

D-Gustav Olofsson, Colorado College

D-Michael Brodzinski, Minnesota

G-Eamon McAdam, Penn State

Player of the Year: Austin Czarnik, Miami

Rookie of the Year: Taylor Cammarata, Minnesota