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Notre Dame Picked To Finish Seventh By CCHA Coaches And Media

Sept. 16, 2003

Detroit, Mich. – The Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) opened its 33rd season with its annual Media Day at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday afternoon.

In the annual polls, Notre Dame was picked to finish seventh in voting by both the coaches and the media.

In the coaches’ poll, the Irish received 62 total votes, just two behind sixth-place Miami. Those two teams finished the 2002-03 season in the save position. The University of Michigan was selected first by the coaches, receiving 10 first-place votes and a total of 120 points. Ferris State, last season’s regular-season champion, picked up one first-place vote and a total of 104 points. Michigan State also received one first-place vote and 101 points for third place.

In the media poll that featured a CCHA-record 82 media members, Michigan was selected as the league’s top pick with 70 first-place votes. Michigan State received seven for second place with Ferris State (two first-place votes) and Ohio State (three first-place votes) taking third and fourth.

The results of both polls:

CCHA Coaches Poll (1st-place votes) Points1. Michigan (10) 1202. Ferris State (1) 1043. Michigan State (1) 1014. Ohio State 965. Northern Michigan 716. Miami 647. Notre Dame 628. Alaska Fairbanks 539. Western Michigan 5210. Bowling Green 3511. Nebraska-Omaha 2312. Lake Superior State 11

CCHA Media Poll (1st-place votes)
1. Michigan (70)2. Michigan State (7)3. Ferris State (2)4. Ohio State (3)5. Northern Michigan6. Miami7. Notre Dame8. Western Michigan9. Alaska Fairbanks10. Nebraska-Omaha11. Bowling Green12. Lake Superior State

The CCHA also announced that for the 2003-04 season, home teams will wear their dark uniforms while road teams will wear their white or light-colored uniforms for all conference games during the season. CCHA teams will continue to wear light-colored or white jerseys at home for non-conference games although NCAA rules still allow for them to wear their dark uniforms at home upon prior mutual agreement with their opponent.

The league will also employ a number of NCAA-mandated rule changes, including a new penalty for “contact to the head.” Rule 6-8 states, “A player shall not make contact to an opposing player’s head or neck area in any manner. The penalty is a minor or a major at the referee’s discretion. Referees are to have a zero tolerance policy in this area.

The home team will be granted additional time, if necessary this season, to make a line change during a stoppage of play. The home team was allowed five seconds after the referee raised his hand to signal that the visiting team could make no more changes. This season, the home team will have up to eight seconds to change players.

Face-off protocol has been modified to mandate players take a stationary position in the immediate vicinity of the face-off before the puck is dropped and teams must have the proper amount of players on the ice. First offense will get a warning from the referee and second and subsequent offenses will result in a bench minor.

Player safety will be augmented through enforcement of a revised “helmet chinstrap” rule. Rule 3-5 dictates that “all players including goalkeepers are expected to wear ice hockey helmets with chinstraps securely fastened. There shall be only enough room between the chinstrap and chin to insert two fingers.

Language for the interpretation of a diving sweep check has been added to rule 6-58a governing the infraction of tripping. It states, “Player A1, on a two-on-one, has the puck. Player B1 slides on the ice knocking the puck away from A1, but in the process, tripping A1. Ruling: Minor for tripping must be called. Tripping must be called anytime it occurs, regardless of whether or not contact is made with the puck.

Notre Dame will begin official practice on Friday, September 26th. On Sunday, September 28th, the Irish will hold their annual Blue-Gold scrimmage at the Joyce Center at 4:00 p.m. Notre Dame then faces Western Ontario in preseason action on Friday, Oct. 3 with game time at the Joyce Center set for 7:35 p.m.