GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Minnesota cemented its role as the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's preseason favorite Wednesday with the release of the league's coaches poll.
The Golden Gophers, who won the league title in 2011-12, received 11 of 12 first-place votes in balloting taken by the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald.
Minnesota's Nick Bjugstad was named the coaches' preseason player of the year, receiving eight of 12 votes. North Dakota's Rocco Grimaldi was named rookie of the year.
North Dakota received the other first-place vote and was second in the voting with 110 points to the Gophers' 121.
Michigan Tech landed in a tie for eighth in the voting with Nebraska Omaha.
The remaining spots in the top half went to Denver, St. Cloud State, Wisconsin and Minnesota Duluth.
The top six are the same in the media and coaches' polls, while Tech was solo ninth in the media poll released last week.
The bottom six slots in the coaches' poll went to Colorado College, UNO, Tech, Minnesota State Mankato, Bemidji State and Alaska Anchorage. As in the media poll, the four schools remaining in the WCHA after the 2012-13 season were ranked in the bottom four places.