WCHA Press Releases

WCHA 2020-21 Season Review
Coaching milestones and record-setting performances highlighted the most unusual campaign in league history

Final Horn

- Minnesota State Advances to the Frozen Four: Minnesota State capped another stellar season with the program's first Frozen Four appearance. The Mavericks opened the NCAA West Regional in Loveland, Colo., with a thrilling 4-3 come-from-behind overtime win over ECAC qualifier Quinnipiac on March 27. MSU then punched its ticket to Pittsburgh with a dominant 4-0 win over Big Ten champion - and former WCHA rival - Minnesota in the regional championship game the following night to clinch the final spot in the 2021 Frozen Four.

- Lake Superior State, Bemidji State join Mavericks in NCAA Tournament: WCHA postseason champion Lake Superior State and Bemidji State joined Minnesota State in the NCAA tournament this season, marking the first time three league teams reached the national tournament since the 2013 realignment.

  • The Lakers and Beavers were both placed in the NCAA East Regional in Bridgeport, Conn., with BSU posting one of the biggest upsets of the 2021 postseason, taking down regional No. 1 seed Wisconsin, 6-3, on the tournament's first day. LSSU fell to eventual national champion Massachusetts, 5-1, that evening with the Minutemen going on to defeat the Beavers, 4-0, in the East Regional championship game the following day.
  • The NCAA tournament appearances were the first both Bemidji State and Lake Superior State as WCHA members and the fifth and 11th, respectively, all-time for the two programs.

- Lakers Win WCHA Postseason Crown: Lake Superior State became the fourth team in the last seven completed tournaments to win the WCHA postseason championship when the second-seeded Lakers downed sixth-seeded Northern Michigan, 6-3, on March 20 to skate off with the Jeff Sauer Trophy. The win also secured LSSU's first NCAA tournament appearance since 1996.

- Minnesota State's Continued Dominance: Minnesota State clinched the 2020-21 WCHA regular-season title with a 4-3 overtime win over then No. 19/RV Bemidji State on Feb. 26. The MacNaughton Cup-securing victory gave the Mavericks a fourth-consecutive regular season league crown, marking the first time in WCHA history a team has won a quartet of titles in a row. MSU had been tied with Colorado College (1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96) for the most consecutive outright titles at three.

- McKay Rewrites Goaltender Record Book: Hobey Baker and Mike Richter finalist Dryden McKay will leave the WCHA as one of the top goaltenders in the league's long and storied history, ranking at or near the top in several key statistical categories.

  • The Downers Grove, Ill., native ended his WCHA tenure with 24 career shutouts in 97 games and will begin his senior season just two blankings shy of the NCAA record of 26 set by Michigan State's Ryan Miller (1999-2002).
  • McKay also ranks as the WCHA's all-time leader in goals against average (1.53) and save percentage (.932) His career winning percentage of .819 is No. 2 in league history and his 75 career wins stand as 10th-best in WCHA history.

- Milestones: In addition to Minnesota State's unprecedented fourth consecutive WCHA regular-season title, the 2020-21 season saw several other team and coaching milestones achieved.

  • Long-time Ferris State head coach Bob Daniels joined some exclusive company when he was behind the bench for his 1,100th game at FSU on Feb. 13 at Michigan Tech. With that contest, Daniels joined former Boston University head coach Jack Parker and former Michigan bench boss Red Berenson as the third coach in NCAA men's ice hockey history to coach 1,100 Division I games at one school. Ferris State's March 13 WCHA Quarterfinal game at Minnesota State was the 1,106 contest of Daniels' FSU tenure.
  • Bowling Green became the just the 26th team in NCAA men's ice hockey history to reach the 1,000-win mark when the Falcons defeated Northern Michigan on Jan. 26.
  • With a 5-1 win over Bemidji State on Feb. 12, Northern Michigan became the 11th school in WCHA history to win 400 games as a league member.
  • Bemidji State's Tom Serratore coached his 400th game as a WCHA head coach on Feb. 25 when the Beavers met Minnesota State. Serratore ended his WCHA tenure ranked 20th on the league games coached list at 410.

- WCHA Honors 70 Years of Excellence: The Men's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association celebrated seven decades of history during the 2020-21 season. The league announced an All-Decade Team and a Coach and Player of the Decade for the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s throughout the campaign. All current and former WCHA member institutions were asked to submit nominees for consideration and nearly 200 current and former players and coaches were nominated. The honorees were selected by a panel of current and former WCHA staff and media members who have covered the league.

  • Home to a record 37 national championships, 16 Hobey Baker Award winners, 408 All-Americans, more than 450 National Hockey League players and over 100 Olympians, the WCHA has been one of the most successful and decorated leagues in intercollegiate hockey.
  • This year's celebration is the second event of its kind in league history. During the 2001-02 season, the WCHA recognized the Top 50 Players in 50 Years with a season-long campaign that culminated at that season's Final Five.

- Who's Your Granddaddy?: As the oldest conference in college hockey, the WCHA has been home to 21 of the current 61 Division I programs (34.4 percent) and saw former league members populate four other conferences - including one third generation league. The sons of the WCHA include the original CCHA (1971-2013), the Big Ten (2013-present) and the NCHC (2013-present). The reborn CCHA, which will begin play next season, will join that group as the league's lone grandson.

2021 WCHA Postseason Tournament

Once again in 2021, the WCHA crowned a playoff champion at the WCHA Postseason Tournament presented by SPIRE Credit Union. Lake Superior State received the WCHA's automatic bid to the 2021 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship and the Jeff Sauer WCHA Championship Trophy, presented by Anderson's Pure Maple Syrup.

About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Men's League

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association, among the most historic, tradition-rich and successful conferences in all of collegiate athletics, marked its 69th season of men's competition in 2020-21. The 10-team NCAA Division I conference consisted of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (Chargers), the University of Alaska Anchorage (Seawolves), the University of Alaska (Nanooks), Bemidji State University (Beavers), Bowling Green State University (Falcons), Ferris State University (Bulldogs), Lake Superior State University (Lakers), Michigan Technological University (Huskies), Minnesota State University (Mavericks) and Northern Michigan University (Wildcats). For more information, visit wcha.com.