MARSHFIELD, Mass. – Reigning Colonial Hockey Conference (CHC) Champions, Morrisville State College were selected to repeat in the 2017-18 Preseason Coaches Poll. Votes were compiled based on rankings submitted by league coaches. The Mustangs received five out of a possible seven first-place votes for 47 total points, edging out Endicott College (44 points) who received the other two first-place votes. SUNY Canton rounded out the top three, receiving 34 total points in the rankings.
Johnson & Wales University (27 points), Becker College (21 points), CHC newcomer Nichols College (14 points) and Salem State University (9 points) finished fourth through seventh respectively.
The season kicks off next weekend with five of the league's seven teams in nonconference action. Becker College will be the first team to officially drop the puck on the 2017-18 season as they travel to Vermont to take on Castleton University.
2017-18 Colonial Hockey Conference Coaches' Preseason Poll
|#1||Morrisville State (5)||47|
|#2||Endicott College (2)||44|
|#4||Johnson & Wales University||27|
|#7||Salem State University||9|
*First Place votes in parentheses
Morrisville State: The Mustangs have their eyes on defending the CHC title in 2017-18. First-team CHC selection, Kaitlyn Schlake (Nampa, Idaho) is back for Morrisville after leading the CHC in defenseman scoring last season with 18 points. The team begins this year's campaign as they open their season with two nonleague games against Buffalo State.
Endicott: The Gulls return to the ice with the core of last year's team intact, losing no players to graduation. Endicott returns starting goaltender Vendela Jonsson (Linkoping, Sweden) who led the CHC in GAA, posting an impressive 1.36 (also good for 11th nationally). Last year's leading scorers for the Gulls in Jillian Gibbs (Burlington, Vt.) and Jade Meier (Fairbanks, Alaska) are back as well as they aim to improve on impressive freshmen seasons.
SUNY Canton: Tess Adams (Calgary, Alta.) returns to the ice for her junior campaign after notching 27 points (20 goals, 7 assists) last season for the Roos. Canton also returns an all-conference player to the blue line in Noelle Niemiec (Staten Island, N.Y.) who posted 16 points in 2017-18.
Johnson & Wales: The Wildcats begin their regular season against Division I opponent Sacred Heart University on October 27. Led by first-year head coach Natalie Zitek, JWU eyes a return to the CHC postseason tournament for the third consecutive season.
Becker: The Ice Hawks will aim to build on back-to-back CHC postseason tournament appearances as they kickoff the regular season at Castleton and home vs. Franklin Pierce University. Becker did not lose any players to graduation and return their team leading scorers in Bailey Coons (Casper, Wyo.) and Claudia Gee (Randolph, Vt.).
Nichols: The Bison make their debut in the CHC after shifting over from the New England Hockey Conference in 2017-18. Nichols also boasts a new head coach in Michael O'Grady. Senior Captain Emily Barden (Chatham, N.Y.) will lead the team on the ice as they eye a postseason appearance.
Salem State: The Vikings kick off the 2017-18 season with CHC games against crosstown rival, Endicott on November 1 and 3. First year head coach Malcolm Spurling will look to improve on last year's 4-19 record as the Vikings look to make their first CHC postseason appearance.