Alaska Nanooks projected to place 7th in WCHA Preseason Media Poll

Published: Nov. 9, 2020 at 6:58 PM AKST
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The Western Collegiate Hockey Association released their 2020-21 Preseason Media Poll Monday, where the Alaska Nanooks are projected to place 7th in the league. One representative from each of the league’s 10 markets voted, with the University of Alaska Fairbanks receiving 44 out of a possible 100 points.

The unanimous favorite to win the WCHA is the defending regular-season champion Minnesota State, who received all 10 first place votes.

2020-21 WCHA Preseason Media Poll

1.Minnesota State100
2.Bemidji State89
3.Bowling Green76
4.Northern Michigan68
5.Michigan Tech67
6.Lake Superior State44
8.Ferris State33
9.Alaska Anchorage21
10.Alabama Huntsville12
Based on 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 scale

The Nanooks were also picked 7th in last year’s poll, but overachieved in the eyes of the media, when UAF placed 4th with 14-9-5 record in the WCHA, good for enough to host a first round playoff series.

Minnesota State goaltender Dryden McKay was the media’s preseason pick to win WCHA Player of the Year, followed by Northern Michigan’s Griffin Loughran and Bemidji State’s Owen Sillinger. Michigan Tech freshman Carson Bantle was their choice for WCHA Rookie of the Year.

While no Nanook was voted to the Preseason All-WCHA Team, UAF defenseman Chris Jandric received two votes, but was it not enough to crack the list. Former Fairbanks Ice Dog Jake Willets, of Ferris State, was selected to the Preseason All-WCHA team as a defenseman.

Notable returners for the Nanooks this upcoming season include seniors Max Newton (9 goals, 17 assists in 2019-20) and Justin Young (8 goals, 11 assists). Gustavs Grigals will return between the pipes after going 4-1-1 with a pair of shutouts last season. The junior netminder had a .904 save percentage and is the most experienced goaltender on the 2020-21 roster.

The Nanooks are expected to make their season debut December 4 against the University of Alaska Anchorage in Fairbanks. Details are still being discussed on where UAF will play their hockey games this year, as well as if fans will be able to attend.

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