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Golden Bears top Canada West pre-season poll

 

Edmonton, Alta. – The defending Canada West champion Alberta Golden Bears are the coaches’ pick to repeat as the conference’s best.

Alberta topped the annual preseason coaches poll, which was released Wednesday ahead of the 2019-20 season opening this weekend. The Golden Bears, who downed the Saskatchewan Huskies in last year’s CW Final, earned all seven possible first-place votes for a total of 49 points.

Slotting behind the Bears are the Huskies, who earned 41 points in the poll, as they were the consensus pick to finish second.

Coming in third in the poll were the Calgary Dinos (36 pts.), who received Alberta’s first-place vote. The Dinos finished third during the 2018-19 regular season, posting an 18-7-3 mark.

The 2019-20 season opens this weekend, with a trio of games Friday. For a complete look at the conference schedule, click here.

Every men’s hockey game will once again be available exclusively this season on Canada West TV Presented by Co-op. You can purchase your all-access, or sport pass by clicking here.

To read more about all eight conference teams, visit CanadaWest.org for the conference’s complete team-by-team preview.

2019 CW MHKY PRESEASON COACHES POLL

Team – Points (First-place votes)

  1. Alberta Golden Bears – 49 (7)
  2. Saskatchewan Huskies – 41
  3. Calgary Dinos – 36 (1)
  4. UBC Thunderbirds – 29
  5. Mount Royal Cougars – 28
  6. Regina Cougars – 15
  7. *Lethbridge Pronghorns – 13
  8. Manitoba Bisons – 13

NOTE: Coaches ranked all opponents 1-7. First-place votes worth 7 pts., second-place worth 6 pts. etc. * Lethbridge ranked 7th based on the greater number of higher placed votes.

 

Noah Philp, brother of former Golden Bear Luke Philp, is one of several key additions to the University of Alberta Golden Bears roster this year. Photo: Brian Liesse/Seattle Thunderbirds
Noah Philp, brother of former University of Alberta Golden Bear Luke Philp, is one of several key additions to the roster of the defending Canada West champions this year. Photo: Brian Liesse/Seattle Thunderbirds

 

University of Alberta Golden Bears
2018-19 CW regular season record: 24-3-1, 2nd in CW
2018-19 CW post-season record: 4-1, Canada West Champions (2nd University Cup)
Head coach: Ian Herbers (5th season) / 96-16-0 (career CW reg. season record)
Last CW championship / total CW championships: 2019 / 28
Last U SPORTS championship / total U SPORTS championships: 2018 / 16

2018-19 CW regular season ranks:

  • Offence: 134 goals, 1st
  • Defence: 55 goals against, 2nd
  • Power play: 29.2%, 1st
  • Penalty kill: 89.8%, 1st

2018-19 CW regular season leaders:

  • Goals: 21 – Luke Philp, F
  • Assists: 25 – Cole Sanford, F
  • Points: 45 – Luke Philp, F
  • Wins: 16 – Zach Sawchenko, G
  • Shutouts: 5 – Zach Sawchenko, G

Key additions (name / position / eligibility / hometown / last WHL team):

  • Noah Philp / F / 1 / Canmore, AB / Seattle Thunderbirds
  • Nolan Volcan / F / 1 / Edmonton, AB / Seattle Thunderbirds
  • Dawson Davidson / D / 1 / Moosomin, SK / Saskatoon Blades
  • Josh Paterson / F / 1 / Edmonton, AB / Portland Winterhawks
  • Braydyn Chizen / D / 1 / St. Albert, AB / Brandon Wheat Kings
  • Matt Berlin / G / 1 / Edmonton, AB / Kootenay ICE

Key losses (name / position / hometown / years with program):

  • Jason Fram / D / Delta, BC / 3
  • Luke Philp / F / Canmore, AB / 3
  • Zach Sawchenko / G / Calgary, AB / 3
  • Riley Kieser / F / Edmonton, AB / 5
  • Stephane Legault / F / Edmonton, AB / 5
  • Graeme Craig / D / Red Deer, AB / 4

Key performer:

  • Brendan Burke
  • Goalie
  • 4th-year
  • Scottsdale, Arizona

After a record-breaking recruit class, which saw 14 Western Hockey League graduates join the Golden Bears, the Bears once again enter the new season as title favourites.

The Bears have a handful of returning conference all-stars up front, and a talented returning defence core for this season. If the Bears plan on capturing a fourth-straight CW title, and 17th University Cup title, they will once again need strong goaltending.

After Canada West all-star and national champion Zach Sawchenko signed a pro deal after the 2019 season, the starting role will once again be given to Brendan Burke.

Burke struggled through injuries last season, but was outstanding in his first two seasons in green and gold. Between 2016 and 2018, Burke compiled a 19-5-1 record, along with four shutouts and a .927 save percentage.

Jake Kryski will join his hometown UBC Thunderbirds in 2019-20. Photo: Candice Ward/Calgary Hitmen
Jake Kryski will join his hometown UBC Thunderbirds in 2019-20. Photo: Candice Ward/Calgary Hitmen

University of British Columbia Thunderbirds
2018-19 CW regular season record: 
14-12-2, 4th in CW
2018-19 CW post-season record: 1-2, lost in CW QF to Mount Royal
Head coach: Sven Butenschon (4th season) / 42-35-7 (career CW reg. season record)
Last CW championship / total CW championships: 1971 / 2
Last U SPORTS championship / total U SPORTS championships: none

2018-19 CW regular season ranks:

  • Offence: 69 goals, 6th
  • Defence: 93 goals against, 5th
  • Power play: 16.1%, 3rd
  • Penalty kill: 82.6%, 4th

2018-19 CW regular season leaders:

  • Goals: 9 – Austin Vetterl, F
  • Assists: 16 – Carter Popoff, F
  • Points: 21 – Carter Popoff, F
  • Wins: 9 – Rylan Toth, G
  • Shutouts: 1 – Patrick Dea, G

Key additions (name / position / eligibility / hometown / last WHL team):

  • Jake Kryski / F / 1 / Vancouver, BC / Calgary Hitmen
  • Quinn Benjafield / F / 1 / North Vancouver, BC / Edmonton Oil Kings
  • Brett Clayton / F / 1 / Abbotsford, BC / Tri City Americans
  • Ryan Pouliot / D / 1 / North Vancouver, BC / Swift Current Broncos
  • Jonathan Smart / D / 1 / Kelowna, BC / Kootenay ICE

Key losses (name / position / hometown / years with program):

  • Michael Stenerson / F / Surrey, BC / 3
  • Adam Rossignol / F / Surrey, BC / 5
  • Chase Clayton / F / Abbotsford, BC / 4

Key performer:

  • Jerret Smith
  • Defenceman
  • 4th-year
  • Surrey, BC

Entering his second year as the Thunderbirds captain, the former Seattle Thunderbird led UBC defencemen in goals (8), assists (8), and points (16), finishing the season fourth in overall team scoring while finishing the 2018-19 season tied for fourth in Canada West blue liner goals. Playing heavy minutes in all situations for the T-Birds, Smith has hit double digit points in each of his three seasons with UBC. The Surrey, BC native also played for the U SPORTS All-Star team in last year’s exhibition series with the Canadian World Junior Championship squad.

Brodan Salmond will join the University of Calgary Dinos this season. Photo: Robert Murray/WHL
Brodan Salmond will join the University of Calgary Dinos this season. Photo: Robert Murray/WHL

University of Calgary Dinos
2018-19 CW regular season record: 18-7-3, 3rd in CW
2018-19 CW post-season record: 2-2, lost to Alberta in CW SF
Head coach: Mark Howell (11th season) / 163-92-25 (career CW reg. season record)
Last CW championship / total CW championships: 1996 / 8
Last U SPORTS championship / total U SPORTS championships: None

2018-19 CW regular season ranks:

  • Offence: 102 goals, 3rd
  • Defence: 68 goals against, 3rd
  • Power play: 13.8%, 6th
  • Penalty kill: 85.1%, 3rd

2018-19 CW regular season leaders:

  • Goals: 19 – Riley Sheen, F
  • Assists: 18 – Coda Gordon, F
  • Points: 34 – Riley Sheen, F
  • Wins: 9 – Matthew Greenfield, G
  • Shutouts: 4 – Matthew Greenfield, G

Key additions (name / position / eligibility / hometown / last WHL team):

  • Kaden Elder / F / 1 / Saskatoon, Sask. / Calgary Hitmen
  • Sahvan Khaira / D / 1 / Langley, B.C. / Everett Silvertips
  • Brodan Salmond / G / 1 / Calgary, Alta. / Moose Jaw Warriors

Key losses (name / position / hometown / years with program):

  • Dylan Busenius / D / Sherwood Park, Alta. / 5
  • Cain Franson / F / Sicamous, B.C. / 5
  • Riley Sheen / F / Edmonton, Alta. / 2

Key performer:

  • Logan Fisher
  • Forward
  • 4th-year
  • Red Deer, Alta.

Fourth-year forward Logan Fisher will look to provide leadership on and off the ice for the Dinos. Fisher will wear the captain’s C in 2019-20, taking over from the graduated Dylan Busenius, and will look to build on his career-best 22-point season from 2018-19, when he was the team’s third-leading scorer.

Dan Gatenby will be joining the University of Lethbridge. Photo: Tri-City Americans
Dan Gatenby will be joining the University of Lethbridge. Photo: Tri-City Americans

University of Lethbridge Pronghorns
2018-19 CW regular season record: 9-17-2, 6th in CW
2018-19 CW post-season record: 0-2, lost CW QF to Calgary
Head coach: Murray Nystrom (2nd) / 9-17-2 (career CW reg. season record)
Last CW championship / total CW championships: 1993-94 / 1
Last U SPORTS championship / total U SPORTS championships: 1993-94 / 1

2018-19 CW regular season ranks:

  • Offence: 74 goals, 5th
  • Defence: 107 goals against, 6th
  • Power play: 12.5%, 7th
  • Penalty kill: 75.4%, 8th

2018-19 CW regular season leaders:

  • Goals: 9 – Justin Valentino, F / Torrin White, F
  • Assists: 18 – Justin Valentino, F
  • Points: 27 – Justin Valentino, F
  • Wins: 8 – Garret Hughson, G
  • Shutouts: 1 – Garret Hughson, G

Key additions (name / position / eligibility / hometown / last WHL team):

  • Luke Coleman / F / 1 / Red Deer, Alta. / Calgary Hitmen
  • Daniel Gatenby / D / 1 / Kelowna, B.C. / Tri-City Americans

Key losses (name / position / hometown / years with program):

  • Garrett Hughson / G / Foremost, Alta. / 3
  • Justin Valentino / F / Thompson, Man. / 5
  • Blake Orban / D / Calgary, Alta. / 4
  • Sam McKechnie / F / Airdrie, Alta. / 4

Key performer:

  • Torrin White
  • Right Wing
  • 4th-year
  • Medicine Hat, Alta.

Torrin White’s play and impact on the Pronghorns success goes beyond that of his stat line. Last season, White tied for the team lead in goals and was second in points with nine goals and 16 points, but has been one of the Pronghorns most consistent players on the competitive part of the game. He is well prepared every weekend and thrives in situations that demand second and third efforts. His work ethic is contagious, so he makes those around him better.

Defenceman Matthew Stanley will join the blue line of the University of Manitoba Bisons. Photo: Robert Murray/WHL
Defenceman Matthew Stanley will join the blue line of the University of Manitoba Bisons. Photo: Robert Murray/WHL

University of Manitoba Bisons
2018-19 CW regular season record: 6-19-2, 7th in CW
2018-19 CW post-season record: DNQ
Head coach: Mike Sirant (24th season) / 316-278-49 (career CW reg. season record)
Last CW championship / total CW championships: 1964-65 / 2
Last U SPORTS championship / total U SPORTS championships: 1964-65 / 1

2018-19 CW regular season ranks:

  • Offence: 66 goals, 7th
  • Defence: 117 goals against, 7th
  • Power play: 14.4%, 4th
  • Penalty kill: 81.9%, 5th

2018-19 CW regular season leaders:

  • Goals: 9 – Zach Franko, F
  • Assists: 13 – Nick Zajac, F
  • Points: 17 – Nick Zajac, F
  • Wins: 5 – Byron Spriggs, G
  • Shutouts: 1 – Byron Spriggs, G

Key additions (name / position / eligibility / hometown / last WHL team):

  • Bradly Goethals / F / 1 / Landmark, MB / Saskatoon Blades
  • Brian Harris / F / 1 / Wawanesa, MB / Edmonton Oil Kings
  • Riley Lamb / G / 1 / Rivers, MB / Swift Current Broncos
  • Brady Pouteau / D / 1 / Oak Bluff, MB / Regina Pats
  • Matthew Stanley / D / 1 / Balmoral, MB / Swift Current Broncos

Key losses (name / position / hometown / years with program):

  • Liam Bilton / F / Winnipeg, MB / 4
  • Brett Brooks / F / Winnipeg, MB / 4
  • Zach Franko / F / Winnipeg, MB / 4
  • Byron Spriggs / G / Winnipeg, MB / 5
  • Brett Stovin / F / Stony Mountain, MB / 4
  • Nick Zajac / F / Headingley, MB / 3

Key performer:

  • Adam Henry
  • Defence
  • 5th-year
  • Winnipeg, MB

A long-tenured player who’s been the backbone of Manitoba’s blue line, Adam Henry brings a ton of veteran experience to a young Bisons team in his fifth year.

A speedy player on defence who isn’t afraid to lead offensively, Henry was second on Manitoba and tied for 8th among defencemen in Canada West with 16 points (six goals, ten assists). His special teams play was also laudable, as six of those assists came on the power play.

The Winnipeg native capped an impressive season with a spot wearing red and white at the 2019 FISU Winter Universiade, where Team Canada won bronze.

Henry was also a Canada West Second Team All-Star in 2017-18, when he had five goals and 20 assists and played in all 28 regular season games and two playoff games.

Henry was also named to the U SPORTS and Canada West All-Rookie team in 2015-16. The 5’11”, 205 lbs. defenceman will look to keep finish his Bisons career with style in 2019-20 and repeat his All-Star form.

Tri-City Americans captain Nolan Yaremko will join the Mount Royal University Cougars in 2019-20. Photo: Tri-City Americans
Tri-City Americans captain Nolan Yaremko will join the Mount Royal University Cougars in 2019-20. Photo: Tri-City Americans

Mount Royal University Cougars
2018-19 CW regular season record: 12-11-5, 5th in CW
2018-19 CW post-season record: 2-3, lost CW SF to Saskatchewan
Head coach: Bert Gilling (6th season) / 75-70 (career CW reg. season record)

2018-19 CW regular season ranks:

  • Offence: 87 goals, 4th
  • Defense: 76 goals against, 4th
  • Power play: 11.5%, 8th
  • Penalty kill: 79.3%, 6th

2018-19 CW regular season leaders:

  • Goals: 10 – Ryley Lindgren, F
  • Assists: 16 – David Stephens, F
  • Points: 23 – David Stephens, F
  • Wins: 10 – Riley Morris, G
  • Shutouts: 0

Key additions (name / position / eligibility / hometown / last WHL team):

  • Andrew Fyten / F / 1 / Sundre, AB / Edmonton Oil Kings
  • Sean Richards / F / 1 / St. Albert, AB / Seattle Thunderbirds
  • Nolan Yaremko / F / 1 / Spirit River, AB / Tri-City Americans
  • Keegan Iverson / F / 1 / St. Louis Park, MN / Portland Winterhawks

Key losses (name / position / hometown / years with program):

  • David Stephens / F / Whitehorse, YT / 5
  • Grant Baker / D / Calgary, AB / 5
  • Colin Cooper / G / Calgary, AB / 4

Key performer:

  • Riley Morris
  • Goalie
  • 2nd-year
  • Calgary, AB

Morris came into his rookie season last year after a stellar career in Okotoks as the top Canadian Junior Hockey League Goaltender in 2017-18 and being the Oilers all-time leader in wins (88), shutouts (10) and season goals against average (1.98).

He continued his strong play as the top rookie goalie in Canada West and U SPORTS with 10 wins and finished third in the Canada West in save percentage (0.919). Morris will look to be the backbone of this new and exciting 2019-20 Cougar roster.

WHL Champion Linden McCorrister will join the University of Regina Cougars this season. Photo: Brandon Wheat Kings
WHL Champion Linden McCorrister will join the University of Regina Cougars this season. Photo: Brandon Wheat Kings

University of Regina Cougars
2018-19 CW regular season record: 4-23-1, 8th in CW
2018-19 CW post-season record: DNQ
Head coach: Todd Johnson (8th season) / 50-132-14 (career CW reg. season record)
Last CW championship / total CW championships: None
Last U SPORTS championship / total U SPORTS championships: None

2018-19 CW regular season ranks:

  • Offence: 55 goals, 8th
  • Defence: 137 goals against, 8th
  • Power play: 14.0%, 5th
  • Penalty kill: 78.1%, 7th

2018-19 CW regular season leaders:

  • Goals: 7 – Tristan Frei, F
  • Assists: 13 – Landon Peel, D
  • Points: 17 – Tyler King, D
  • Wins: 3 – Dawson MacAuley, G
  • Shutouts: 0

Key additions (name / position / eligibility / hometown / last team):

  • Linden McCorrister / F / 1 / Peguis, Man. / Brandon Wheat Kings
  • Curtis Meger / G / 1 / Regina, Sask. / Kootenay ICE
  • Bryce Platt / F / 1 / Regina, Sask. / Regina Pats

Key losses (name / position / hometown / years with program):

  • Corey Kosloski / F / Regina, Sask. / 3
  • Gray Marr / F / Twin Butte, Alta. / 3
  • Zach McPhee / F / Vernon, B.C. / 5
  • Zak Zborosky / F / Regina, Sask. / 2

Key performer:

  • Tyler King
  • Defence
  • 4th-year
  • Pilot Butte, Sask.

Local product Tyler King enjoyed a breakout season statistically last year with the Cougars, collecting five goals and adding 12 assists to notch a team-leading 17 points. Among Canada West blueliners, King finished sixth in the conference in points and tied for second in the league with seven power play assists. A business administration major, King still has two seasons of U SPORTS eligibility remaining.

After leading his team to the 2019 Rogers WHL Championship Series, former Vancouver Giants captain Jared Dmytriw will join the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Photo: Chris Relke/Vancouver Giants
After leading his team to the 2019 Rogers WHL Championship Series, former Vancouver Giants captain Jared Dmytriw will join the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Photo: Chris Relke/Vancouver Giants

University of Saskatchewan Huskies
2018-19 CW regular season record: 25-3-0, 1st in CW
2018-19 CW post-season record: 3-2, lost to Alberta in CW Final (4th at University Cup)
Head coach: Dave Adolph (27th season) / 434-256-38 (career CW reg. season record)
Last CW championship / total CW championships: 2015-16 / 10
Last U SPORTS championship / total U SPORTS championships: 1982-83 / 1

2018-19 CW regular season ranks:

  • Offence: 115 goals, 2nd
  • Defence: 49 goals against,1st
  • Power play: 23.9%, 2nd
  • Penalty kill: 88.3%, 2nd

2018-19 CW regular season leaders:

  • Goals: 13 – Carson Stadnyk, F & Levi Cable, F
  • Assists: 20 – Kohl Bauml, F
  • Points: 32 – Carson Stadnyk, F
  • Wins: 20 – Taran Kozun, G
  • Shutouts: 5 – Taran Kozun, G

Key additions (name / position / eligibility / hometown / last WHL team):

  • Jared Dmytriw / F / 1 / Craven, SK / Vancouver Giants

Key losses (name / position / hometown / years with program):

  • Jesse Forsberg / D / Waldheim, SK / 5
  • Michael Sofillas / F / Morden, MB / 5
  • Jaimen Yakubowski / F / Dalmeny, SK / 4
  • Paker Thomas / F / Winnipeg, MB / 5

Key performer:

  • Taran Kozun
  • Goaltender
  • 3rd-year
  • Nipawin, Sask.

Goaltender Taran Kozun returns between the pipes for the Huskies for the 2019-20 campaign after what was a sensational year for the former Seattle Thunderbirds standout. Kozun’s five shutouts set a new Canada West single-season record, helping the netminder earn U SPORTS and Canada West Goalie of the Year honours along with a spot as an All-Canadian and Canada West First Team All-Star.

One year after a program-best 25-3 regular season record, Kozun will undoubtedly play a large role as Saskatchewan aims to make it back to the University Cup for the fifth-straight season.

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