Two-time Four Nations Cup titlist and IIHL Women's World Champion with Team USA, Stephanie Anderson led Bemidji State to a program-record 22 wins in 2015-16.
Minnesota has won a record seven national championships and six NCAA Frozen Four titles, including the 2016 crown.
Minnesota Duluth's 25-win season in 2016-17 evoked images of the Bulldogs' championship-laden past.
Celebrations are growing for Minnesota State, which won more games in 2016-17 than in the previous two seasons combined.
All-American goaltender Kassidy Sauve set the single-season Ohio State saves record in 2016-17 with 1,135 – the second-most in WCHA history.
Swiss Olympian Janine Alder excelled as a freshman in 2016-17, helping St. Cloud State continue its rise.
Four-time NCAA champion Wisconsin has produced five Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners, including record-setting goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens.
• 16 National Championships in 18 years
• 7 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Winners
• 95 All-Americans
• Hundreds of Olympic and international team heroes
• Countless young women inspired
Home to a record 16 national championships since its founding in 1999, the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) is college hockey's premier conference.
Entering its 19th year of competition in 2017-18, the WCHA consists of its seven original members: Bemidji State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State University, Ohio State University, St. Cloud State University and the University of Wisconsin. All seven member schools are among the finest institutions of higher learning in the country, offering the very best in both educational and athletic environments for the more than 150 student-athletes who compete annually in the league.
Since its founding, the WCHA has set standards of excellence unmatched by any other Division I conference – in any sport. Including the first season of 1999-2000, teams representing this Association have captured a record 16 national championships – including 15 of a possible 17 NCAA Women's Frozen Four crowns – while producing seven Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Winners and 95 All-Americans. The WCHA also continues to craft an indelible legacy on the international and professional hockey scene, with scores of alumnae, current players and coaches enjoying success in such prestigious settings as the Olympic Winter Games, the IIHF World Championship, the 4 Nations Cup, and both the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL) and the National Women's Hockey League (NWHL).
Off the ice, WCHA student-athletes continue to excel in the classroom and in the community. Hundreds have earned WCHA Scholar-Athlete and All-WCHA Academic Team accolades for their exemplary academic performance, while last season saw a pair of student-athletes earn nominations for the 2017 BNY Mellon Wealth Management Hockey Humanitarian Award, and four become nominees for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.
The 2016-17 campaign was once again memorable, as the WCHA led the country with three teams in the top-five of the final opinion polls. The league also: Landed three programs in the NCAA tournament and comprised half of the Frozen Four field, celebrated the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner, along with another top-three finalist and five top-10 finalists, honored the National Coach of the Year (as awarded by both the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA)/CCM Hockey and USCHO), saw a NCAA-high eight players earn AHCA/CCM Hockey All-America accolades and applauded numerous current and former players that competed internationally, along with 39 alumnae that starred professionally in either CWHL or the NWHL.
A closer look at the seven member institutions that make up college hockey's premier conference:
- Bemidji State set a program record with 22 wins in 2015-16, has 55 victories over the last three seasons and counts U.S. National Team star forward Stephanie Anderson and all-time WCHA saves leader Brittni Mowat among its recent alumnae.
- Minnesota is one of the country's elite programs, with two Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners (including U.S. Olympian Amanda Kessel), 34 All-Americans and a record seven national championships – including two of the last three years and four in the last six seasons.
- Minnesota Duluth, which boasts five national championships, 16 All-Americans and numerous international stars in its storied history, appears poised to return to greatness after a 25-win season in 2016-17 that included an appearance in the WCHA Final Faceoff championship game, a trip to the NCAA tournament and a No. 5 final national ranking.
- Minnesota State' s new era took a major step forward in 2016-17 under second-year head coach and 1980 U.S. Olympian John Harrington, as the Mavericks – in a newly-refurbished home arena – won more games than they had in the previous two seasons combined.
- Ohio State, which counts Team Canada and CWHL sensation Natalie Spooner among its alumnae, is building a new tradition under the leadership of second-year head coach Nadine Muzerall, who has a national championship résumé as a player and assistant coach at Minnesota, and guided the Buckeyes to 14 wins in her first season.
- St. Cloud State, which posted its most wins in six years during the 2015-16 season, continued to show it's a program on the rise in 2016-17 with an appearance on the prestigious Hockey Day Minnesota and the stellar play of star freshman and Swiss Olympian Janine Alder in net.
- Wisconsin has become one of the nation's dominant programs under head coach and 1980 U.S. Olympian Mark Johnson, winning four NCAA championships, producing five Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners and 30 All-Americans, and developing some of the sport's brightest stars (including Brianna Decker, Alex Rigsby, Hilary Knight and 2017 Patty Kaz winner Ann-Renée Desbiens.).
With seven high-quality institutions producing leaders and champions on and off the ice, and playing in front of the sport's best fans, this much is certain: The WCHA – like it has for two decades – will remain elite on the ice, while providing an exemplary student-athlete and fan experience.
The WCHA – Tradition Starts Here.