A look across the WCHA men's league

010820.S.BP.BSUMHKY Ross Armour.jpg
Bemidji State's Ross Armour (17) controls the puck in a game against Ferris State on Jan. 3 at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association men’s league is entering what will likely be its final season. Seven schools -- Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan -- will depart for the new Central Collegiate Hockey Association following the 2020-21 campaign. Here's how the league’s members are shaping up entering the new season.

Bemidji State

Head coach: Tom Serratore (20th season)

2019-20 record: 22-10-5 (20-5-3-2 WCHA, 2nd)

Preseason poll rankings: 2nd (media & coaches)

Pioneer’s preseason ranking: 2nd


Top returners: Senior goalie Zach Driscoll (1.63 GAA, .937 save pct.), junior forward Owen Sillinger (14g-20a-34p), sophomore defenseman Elias Rosén (5g-19a-24p)

Key departures: Forward Adam Brady (19g-15a-34p), defenseman Tommy Muck (4g-16a-20p), Charlie Combs (12g-6a-18p)

Alabama Huntsville

Head coach: Lance West (1st season)

2019-20 record: 2-26-6 (2-20-6-1 WCHA, 10th)

Preseason poll rankings: 10th (media & coaches)

Pioneer’s preseason ranking: 10th

Top returners: Junior forward Tyr Thompson (6g-2a-8p), senior forward Connor Merkley (3g-5a-8p), sophomore goalie David Fessenden (4.44 GAA, .869 save pct.)

Key departures: 56% of roster, including forward Josh Latta (7g-11a-18p), forward Christian Rajic (6g-9a-15p) and goalie Mark Sinclair (3.86 GAA, .896 save pct.)



Head coach: Erik Largen (3rd season)

2019-20 record: 16-15-5 (14-9-5-2 WCHA, 4th)

Preseason poll rankings: 7th (media & coaches)

Pioneer’s preseason ranking: 7th

Top returners: Senior forward Max Newton (9g-18a-27p), junior defenseman Chris Jandric (5g-17a-22p), senior forward Justin Young (9g-12a-21p)

Key departures: Forward Steven Jandric (13g-20a-33p), forward Kylar Hope (10g-10a-20p), goalie Anton Martinsson (2.51 GAA, .919 save pct.)

Alaska Anchorage

Note: The Seawolves announced Nov. 13 that they have opted out of the 2020-21 season.

Head coach: Matt Curley (3rd season)


2019-20 record: 4-25-7 (4-18-6-3 WCHA, 8th)

Preseason poll rankings: 9th (media & coaches)

Pioneer’s preseason ranking: 9th

Top returners: Sophomore forward Rylee St. Onge (8g-9a-17p), sophomore forward Nick Wicks (7g-9a-16p), senior goalie Kris Carlson (3.15 GAA, .907 save pct.)

Key departures: Forward Luc Brown (8g-12a-20p), defenseman Tomi Hiekkavirta (2g-13a-15p), forward Taylor Lantz (2g-8a-10p)

Bowling Green

Head coach: Ty Eigner (2nd season)

2019-20 record: 21-13-4 (14-10-4-3, 4th)

Preseason poll rankings: 3rd (media & coaches)


Pioneer’s preseason ranking: 3rd

Top returners: Senior forward Connor Ford (12g-22a-34p), senior forward Brandon Kruse (9g-25a-34p), senior goalie Eric Dop (2.36 GAA, .902 save pct.)

Key departures: Defenseman Alec Rauhauser (11g-24a-35p), forward Frederic Letourneau (6g-15a-21p), forward Casey Linkenheld (5g-5a-10p)

Ferris State

Head coach: Bob Daniels (29th season)

2019-20 record: 7-26-2 (5-21-2-0 WCHA, 9th)

Preseason poll rankings: 8th (media & coaches)

Pioneer’s preseason ranking: 8th

Top returners: Sophomore defenseman Jake Willets (3g-19a-22p), senior forward Marshall Moise (10g-6a-16p), sophomore defenseman Blake Evennou (1g-14a-15p)


Key departures: Defenseman Nate Kallen (6g-10a-16p), forward Jason Tackett (4g-12a-16p), defenseman Joe Rutkowski (2g-10a-12p)

Lake Superior State

Head coach: Damon Whitten (7th season)

2019-20 record: 14-23-4 (11-13-4-4 WCHA, 7th)

Preseason poll rankings: 6th (media & coaches)

Pioneer’s preseason ranking: 6th

Top returners: Junior forward Ashton Calder (12g-16a-28p), senior goalie Mareks Mitens (2.57 GAA, .911 save pct.), sophomore forward Louis Boudon (6g-21a-27p)

Key departures: Forward Max Humitz (22g-13a-35p), defenseman Collin Saccoman (6g-3a-9p), forward Brayden Gelsinger (3g-5a-8p)

Michigan Tech

Head coach: Joe Shawhan (4th season)


2019-20 record: 21-15-3 (14-12-2-0 WCHA, 6th)

Preseason poll rankings: 5th (media); 4th (coaches)

Pioneer’s preseason ranking: 5th

Top returners: Junior forward Alec Broetzman (16g-11a-27p), junior forward Trenton Bliss (12g-15a-27p), junior forward Brian Halonen (12g-10a-22p)

Key departures: Goalie Matt Jurusik (2.06 GAA, .924 save pct.), forward Alex Smith (7g-16a-23p), defenseman Seamus Donohue (3g-14a-17p)

Minnesota State

Head coach: Mike Hastings (9th season)

2019-20 record: 31-5-2 (23-4-1-1 WCHA, 1st)

Preseason poll rankings: 1st (media & coaches)

Pioneer’s preseason ranking: 1st

Top returners: Junior goalie Dryden McKay (1.31 GAA, .942 save pct.), sophomore forward Lucas Sowder (6g-25a-31p), sophomore forward Nathan Smith (9g-18a-27p)

Key departures: Forward Marc Michaelis (20g-24a-44p), forward Parker Tuomie (14g-23a-37p), defenseman Connor Mackey (7g-17a-24p)

Northern Michigan

Head coach: Grant Potulny (4th season)

2019-20 record: 18-16-4 (16-11-1-1 WCHA, 3rd)

Preseason poll rankings: 4th (media); 5th (coaches)

Pioneer’s preseason ranking: 4th

Top returners: Junior forward Griffin Loughran (23g-16a-39p), junior forward Vincent de Mey (15g-13a-28p), senior forward Joseph Nardi (8g-19a-27p)

Key departures: Defenseman Philip Beaulieu (6g-19a-25p), forward Darien Craighead (15g-16a-31p), forward Luke Voltin (8g-5a-13p)

Austin Monteith is the former sports editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. A native of Bloomington, Ill., he is a 2015 graduate of Butler University. Follow him on Twitter at @amonteith92. Contact the Pioneer sports department at
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