McLeod Hockey Blog: Gophers tabbed to top Big Ten hockey

Big Ten coaches have picked Minnesota to win its fifth conference championship. The preseason poll of head coaches predicts the Golden Gophers will extend their NCAA record streak of consecutive seasons atop a conference to seven, including the last two WCHA crowns.

The newest Big Ten contender, Notre Dame, was picked second followed by a resurgent Wisconsin, former newcomer Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan and free-falling Michigan State.

More Gophers coverage

The Gophers open the regular season at the Ice Breaker Tournament in Duluth on Friday, Oct. 6 against Minnesota Duluth. The next night they’ll face off against either Michigan Tech or Union. Those games will be followed by an early Big Ten set against Penn State at Mariucci. All eyes, however, are on the third weekend of the regular season, Oct. 20 and 21, when the Maroon and Gold travels to Grand Forks for the first time since The Great NoDak Name Change Debacle.

Again this season, my partner Ben Clymer and I will call a number of Gopher hockey tilts on Fox Sports North. Schedule to be announced.

Captain Tyler Sheehy Is a Unanimous Pre-Season Big Ten Pick

Sheehy was already named Big Ten Player of the Year, first-team All American and a finalist for the 2017 Hobey Baker Award last spring. Now, he’s one of four Gophers selected to the coaches’ Preseason Watch List.

Sheehy is a unanimous choice but not the only Golden Gopher on the list. Teammates Rem Pitlick and Ryan Lindgren were voted in by the coaches, as was newcomer Casey Mittelstadt.

DOUG McLEOD is the five-time Emmy Award-winning play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports and a longtime voice of Division I and NHL hockey. This is his 22nd season calling Golden Gopher hockey games.