Deephaven, MN. — The Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) 2023-24 Media Poll has been released along with preseason awards, and the U.P, was well represented. Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan were picked 1 and 2, respectively, by pundits.
The Huskies picked up 152 points in the poll with 11 first place votes meanwhile their U.P rivals, Northern Michigan, received 133 points with two first-place votes. MTU & NMU were also well represented in the Preseason All-CCHA Team. The two upper peninsula schools had five out of seven first-team selections, these student-athletes include: Andre Ghantous, F, NMU, Kyle Kukkonen, F, MTU, Josh Zinger, D, NMU, Jed Pietila, D, MTU, and Blake Pietila, G, MTU.
Preseason hype/expectations are warranted for both programs due to returning production from last season. Michigan Tech returns Blake Pietila, the 2023 CCHA Player of the Year, Goaltender of the Year and was a First Team All-American. The Howell, MI native also led the nation in shutouts last season. As for Northern Michigan, the Wildcats return three of their top five point-leaders from a season ago in Andre Ghantous, Artem Shaline, and Kristof Papp.
Both teams open their seasons on Friday, October 13th. With the Huskies welcoming Alaska Fairbanks to Houghton and the Wildcats travelling to Minnesota Duluth for a two-game series. The rivals will meet on the ice four times in conference play (12/8/23, 12/9/23, 2/2/24, 2/3/24) as well as one exhibition game in Marquette on Saturday, Jan 6th, 2024.