Click Here For Official Release (PDF)
Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's ice hockey team will open its first season in one of the nation's most historic conferences, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA), as the number two choice to win the league this campaign, according to the media.
The 2013-14 WCHA Preseason Media Poll, which was conducted and ran thru the Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer, listed the Bulldogs second overall behind Minnesota State among the league's 10 schools.
The league plans to announce the Mankato Free Press WCHA Men's Head Coaches Preseason Poll on Wednesday morning in conjunction with the conference's preseason coaches media teleconference.
Minnesota State was a near-unanimous media choice to win the league with 22 first-place votes and 244 total points in voting by a panel of 25 WCHA media members, who voted on a predicted order of finish along with individual awards.
While the Mavericks were picked first following a season in which they reached the NCAA Tournament, the disparity was only 26 total points as the Bulldogs racked up 218 points for a solid second-place preseason poll finish. FSU also had a pair of first-place votes. Behind FSU, Alaska was picked to finish third with 168 points.
The teams in the middle of the pack were separated by 12 points. Bowling Green (149 points) was picked to finish fourth, followed by Michigan Tech (144) and Northern Michigan (137).
Lake Superior State (117) was chosen to finish seventh, Bemidji State eighth (108) and Alaska Anchorage ninth (54). Alabama-Huntsville, who was an independent last season, was picked to finish 10th with 36 points.
The media also selected the league's Preseason Player and Rookie of the Year, as well as an All-WCHA team.Minnesota State swept the Player and Rookie of the Year awards. MSU forward Matt Leitner was the league media's near-unanimous pick for preseason Player of the Year while Mavericks' forward Zach Stepan was the pick for preseason Rookie of the Year.
Leitner was also named to the All-WCHA team as a forward along with Bowling Green's Ryan Carpenter and Michigan Tech'a Alex Petan. Defensemen named to the All-WCHA team were Minnesota State's Zach Palmquist and Ferris State's Jason Binkley. MSU's Stephon Williams was voted the goaltender on the All-WCHA team.
While Binkley was the Bulldogs' lone representative on the preseason All-WCHA team, a pair of Bulldogs also received strong voting consideration as senior forward Garrett Thompson was among three candiates for Preseason Player of the Year and junior goaltender CJ Motte earnd votes as the top goaltender.
The Bulldogs will embark on the school's first-ever season in the WCHA in 2013-14 for the school's 36th year of NCAA Division I hockey. This year's slate features eight home weekends with four new schools scheduled to visit Big Rapids for the first time.
The Bulldogs wrapped up their final season of Central Collegiate Hockey Association competition last year and earned a first-round tournament bye for the fourth consecutive year, one of only two schools to accomplish the feat in the final four years of the league.
Last season's campaign came on the heels of a historic 2011-12 campaign in which Ferris State received its first-ever number one national ranking, won the CCHA regular-season championship, claimed the NCAA Midwest Regional crown and advanced to the Frozen Four for the first time in school history.
Ferris State will officially open the 2013-14 season on the road at Colgate in a non-league series set for Oct. 5-6 in Hamilton, N.Y. The regular-season home opener is set for Friday, Oct. 18, as FSU entertains St. Lawrence in Big Rapids with the squad's first WCHA home series slated for Nov. 8-9 versus Bemidji State.
Single-game tickets for the 2013-14 campaign are currently on sale and can be purchased online at StarTickets.com. For more information, please call the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888 or visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com.
Seating is again expected to be at a premium for all FSU home contests this season. Last year, in 2012-13, the Bulldogs officially sold out five times and drew more than 2,000 fans for each of their last 10 regular-season home contests in the 2,400-seat facility. Overall, FSU has posted 11 total sellouts at the Ewigleben Ice Arena since the second half of a historic 2011-12 campaign in which the Bulldogs reached the national championship game at the NCAA Frozen Four.
Team (First-Place votes) Total Points
1. Minnesota State (22) 244
2. Ferris State (2) 218
3. Alaska 168
4. Bowling Green State 149
5. Michigan Tech 144
6. Northern Michigan 137
7. Lake Superior State 117
8. Bemidji State (1) 108
9. Alaska Anchorage 54
10. Alabama Huntsville 36
Matt Leitner, F, Minnesota State
Others receiving votes: Garrett Thompson, F, Ferris State; Stephon Williams, G, Minnesota State
Preseason Rookie Of The Year
Zach Stepan, F, Minnesota State
Others receiving votes: Thomas Scholl, G, Bowling Green; Brendan Harms, F, Bemidji State; Mathias Dahlstrom, G, Northern Michigan; Cliff Watson, D, Michigan Tech
Preseason All-WCHA Team
Matt Leitner, Minnesota State; Alex Petan, Michigan Tech; Ryan Carpenter, Bowling Green
Others receiving votes: Cody Kunyk, Alaska; Reed Sekel, Northern Michigan.
Jason Binkley, Ferris State; Zach Palmquist, D, Minnesota State
Others receiving votes: Stephan Vigier, Northern Michigan; Matt Prapavessis, Bemidji State; Ralfs Freibargs, Bowling Green; Colton Paraynko, Alaska; CJ Ludwig, Northern Michigan
Stephon Williams, Minnesota State
Others receiving votes: CJ Motte, Ferris State; Andrew Walsh, Bemidji State.
The following media members took part in the Bemidji Pioneer WCHA Preseason Media Poll: