Denver picked to win NCHC; UND second in preseason media poll
The Fighting Hawks have won the Penrose Cup three years in a row.
GRAND FORKS — Three-time defending Penrose Cup champion UND will not be the preseason favorite to win the National Collegiate Hockey Conference again this season.
That distinction belongs to defending national champion Denver.
The Pioneers were tabbed as preseason favorites by media members, earning 19 of 23 first-place votes. UND was picked second, grabbing the other four first-place votes.
Minnesota Duluth, searching for its first Penrose Cup, was picked third and St. Cloud State fourth to round out the top half of the league.
Western Michigan, which won its first-ever NCAA tournament game last season, is picked fifth, followed by Colorado College (sixth), Omaha (seventh) and Miami (eighth).
All eight teams will have a coach and player at St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center on Thursday for the league's annual preseason media day. They will participate in a Twitter takeover and conduct interviews with TV, radio and print media.
UND's representatives will be head coach Brad Berry and captain Mark Senden.
The Fighting Hawks are coming off of a third-straight Penrose Cup and its fifth in nine seasons in the NCHC. St. Cloud State has won it three times and Denver twice. The Pioneers shared last season's Penrose with the Fighting Hawks.
UND opens with an exhibition game against the University of Manitoba on Oct. 1 before beginning the regular season with a home series against Holy Cross on Oct. 7-8.
NCHC preseason media poll
1. Denver (19 first-place votes), 180 points
2. North Dakota (4), 160
3. Minnesota Duluth, 136
4. St. Cloud State, 115
5. Western Michigan, 86
6. Colorado College, 64
7. Omaha, 59
8. Miami, 28