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September 25, 2012
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League Head Coaches Tab Defending National Champion Minnesota as WCHA Favorite for 2012-13
Defending Conference Champ Wisconsin and North Dakota Chosen Second in Annual Preseason WCHA Head Coaches' Poll; Badgers' Returning Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Winner and Forward Brianna Decker Picked as Preseason WCHA Player of the Year Minnesota Forward Hannah Brandt is Unanimous Choice for League Rookie of the Year; Wisconsin Opens 2012-13 WCHA Season at Minnesota State Friday & Saturday; Gophers Host Colgate, Ohio State Takes on Lindenwood in Non-Conference Sets; Minnesota Duluth Hosts Minnesota Whitecaps in Pair of Exhibition Contests; Four WCHA Teams Among Top Seven in Preseason National Polls Minnesota No. 1, Wisconsin No. 2, North Dakota No. 5, Minnesota Duluth No. 7/8; League Unveils All-New Mobile Website at wcha.com/mobile
Brianna Decker Picked as Preseason WCHA Player of the Year

MADISON, Wis. When in doubt, go with the defending national champions. That is the message from the coaches who have seen their league win the last 13 Division 1 women's national championships. The University of Minnesota swept to the NCAA Women's Frozen Four crown in a memorable playoff run last season (2011-12) and, according to a preseason poll of the league's head coaches, the Golden Gophers are the pick to win the Western Collegiate Hockey Association title again in 2012-13.

The Gophers, who also won the WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF playoff championship a year ago before beating WCHA regular season champion Wisconsin 4-2 to win the national title, return 15 players this season. Minnesota collected six first place votes and 48 points in the poll of the league's eight head coaches.

Wisconsin and North Dakota, another NCAA tournament qualifier last season, finished tied for second place in the poll with 40 votes, including one first place vote apiece. Minnesota Duluth, with 32 points, was selected to finish fourth, followed by Ohio State in fifth place, Bemidji State in sixth, Minnesota State in seventh and St. Cloud State in eighth.

Wisconsin senior forward Brianna Decker, the 2012 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner as women's college hockey's outstanding player and reigning WCHA Player of the Year, was the coaches' pre-season choice for WCHA player of the year. She had four votes, while Minnesota forward Amanda Kessel and North Dakota forward Jocelyne Lamoureux, last season's league scoring champion, each received two votes. Minnesota freshman forward Hannah Brandt is the head coaches' unanimous choice as pre-season WCHA Rookie of the Year.

2012-13 WCHA Coaches Pre-Season Poll
Rank Team (1st Place Votes) Pts.
1. Minnesota (6) 48
2. North Dakota (1) 44
Wisconsin (1) 40
4. Minnesota Duluth 32
5. Ohio State 24
6. Bemidji State 19
7. Minnesota State 12
8. St. Cloud State 9
(Note: coaches could not vote for their own teams in the poll and points were awarded on a 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 system.)

WCHA Pre-Season Player of the Year (votes)
Brianna Decker, Sr., F, Wisconsin (4); Amanda Kessel, Jr., F, Minnesota (2) and Jocelyne Lamoureux, Sr., F, North Dakota (2).

WCHA Pre-Season Rookie of the Year (votes)
Hannah Brandt, Fr., F, Minnesota (8).

WCHA On-Ice Play Begins this Weekend with One League Series, Two Non-Conference Series and Two Exhibition Games for Sept. 28-29

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association women's season for 2012-13 begins this weekend with a bang. It may be September, but there will be two regular season games, two non-conference series and two exhibition games Friday and Saturday.

The 112-game conference slate, comprised of 28 games per each of the WCHA's eight-member teams (four games two home and two away vs each of other seven members), gets underway Sept. 28-29 when Minnesota State welcomes two-time defending league champion Wisconsin to All Seasons Arena in Mankato.

Two other league teams will host non-conference series with Ohio State taking on Lindenwood University at the OSU Ice Rink in Columbus and Minnesota engaging Colgate University at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.

In exhibition play, Minnesota Duluth will skate against the Minnesota Whitecaps on both Friday and Saturday at AMSOIL Arena in Duluth.

On the second weekend of the new season, Friday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 6, five more WCHA-member teams will launch their league campaigns as defending national champion Minnesota hosts St. Cloud State, Minnesota Duluth entertains Ohio State and North Dakota welcomes Minnesota State. Bemidji State's first WCHA series this fall will come on Oct. 12-13 when the Beavers host St. Cloud State. The Beavers open their non-conference season Oct. 5-6 at Providence College.

In Madison this season, the Wisconsin Badgers will call LaBahn Arena their new home. With seating for 2,262 spectators, the on-campus facility, which is located adjacent to the Kohl Center, will feature a 200 x 90 ice sheet for women's competition, women's and men's hockey practice, women's and men's team locker rooms and a visiting team locker room, offices for the women's hockey staff and an underground connection to the Kohl Center. The facility is named after Chuck LaBahn, a former UW swimmer who has been a longtime supporter of various campus initiatives. Wisconsin will play its first two-game series in LaBahn Arena on Oct. 19 & 21 vs WCHA foe Bemidji State.

Minnesota's Ridder Arena will be the host for two major post-season tournaments this season. The 2013 WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF will be held at Ridder Arena March 8-9 and the 2013 NCAA Women's Frozen Four will be held there March 22-24.

This Week in the WCHA

Games for Friday, September 28: Lindenwood at Ohio State (NC), 7:07 pm ET; Colgate at Minnesota (NC), 7:07 pm CT; Minnesota Whitecaps at Minnesota Duluth (EX), 7:07 pm CT; Wisconsin at Minnesota State (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT.

Games for Saturday, September 29: Lindenwood at Ohio State (NC), 4:07 pm ET; Minnesota Whitecaps at Minnesota Duluth (EX), 3:07 pm CT; Wisconsin at Minnesota State (WCHA), 3:07 pm CT; Colgate at Minnesota (NC), 4:07 pm CT.

WCHA Unveils All-New Mobile Website for 2012-13 Season at wcha.com/mobile

MADISON, Wis. - The Western Collegiate Hockey Association today announced an all-new mobile website that includes significant updates and upgrades to the previous platform.

The WCHA's men's and women's mobile site, which has been launched at the same url as before (www.wcha.com/mobile) now includes more visually appealing pages, a better navigation system and improved mobile box scores among other changes. The pages can be viewed on a regular web browser, but are optimized for mobile browsers.

"We couldn't be more pleased to announce this all-new WCHA mobile website to our followers across the country and around the world," said Commissioner Bruce McLeod and Associate Commissioner Sara Martin. "The WCHA has presented a significant number of improvements to WCHA.com over the past few seasons and now with this newest mobile development the men's and women's leagues will be at the forefront of providing quick access to all the latest scores, box scores, game stories, statistics and press releases with an easier-to-use, more appealing platform."

The many upgrades for 2012-13 that can now be found at www.wcha.com/mobile include the following:

  • More visually appealing league and member team home pages with images included to promote the top stories.

  • Better navigation system including easy links to each member team's home page from a menu at top of each page.

  • Individual mobile player statistics pages that are accessible from team and league stats pages, press releases and game stories.

  • Improved mobile press release presentation that now includes images and the ability for people to share via social media.

  • Improved mobile game story presentation with images now included and the ability for embedding potential video. Mobile game stories can also now be shared via social media.

  • Significant changes to mobile box scores with the addition of all game data, including all player and team stats. Previous box scores were all text-based. The new version uses an "accordion" format for accessing different game stats categories. These mobile box scores will also be the basis for the live box scores for the coming 2012-13 season and beyond.

WCHA.com, the official website of the 61-year-old Western Collegiate Hockey Association, includes TheWCHAShop.com as the league's on-line merchandise store and WCHA.com/mobile. They are joint ventures of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and SportDesigns.com, featuring a statistical partnership with CollegeHockeyStats.net.