Sept. 17, 2002
Detroit, Mich. – The Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) opened its 32nd season with its annual Media Day at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday afternoon. The league announced several changes for the coming season concerning the CCHA Super Six in March as well as new rule changes for the coming season and the preseason coaches and media polls.
In the annual polls, Notre Dame was picked to finish seventh by both the coaches and the media. In fact, the both polls were identical from top to bottom as both groups selected defending champion Michigan to defend its title. In the coaches poll, Michigan received eight of 12 first-place votes with Michigan State getting two and Northern Michigan and Ohio State each getting one. The media’s poll (with 72 members of the media voting) saw Michigan get 39 first-place votes, Michigan State 22, Northern Michigan 7 and Ohio State 3. The results of both polls:
CCHA Coaches Poll (1st-place votes) Points1. Michigan (8) 1172. Michigan State (2) 1093. Northern Michigan (1) 894. Ohio State (1) 885. Nebraska-Omaha 876. Alaska Fairbanks 747. Notre Dame 708. Western Michigan 499. Ferris State 4510. Miami 2711. Bowling Green 2112. Lake Superior State 16
CCHA Media Poll (1st-place votes) Points1. Michigan (39) 8172. Michigan State (22) 7713. Northern Michigan (7) 6304. Ohio State (3) 5865. Nebraska-Omaha 5616. Alaska Fairbanks 5427. Notre Dame 4408. Western Michigan 4219. Ferris State 31210. Miami 23011. Bowling Green 17612. Lake Superior State 130
The league also announced that it is moving the CCHA Super Six to a Thursday-Saturday format instead of the Friday-Sunday format that it has employed in recent years. This moves the tournament to Thur., Mar. 20 through Sat., Mar. 22nd. Saturday’s final day will also see the league return to a third-place game featuring the two semi-final losers prior to the championship game. With the NCAA tournament expanding to 16 teams, the 3rd-place game is expected to have tournament ramifications. The third-place game also allows fans that come from long distances to see their team play two games on the weekend.
The CCHA also announced that the goal creases would conform to the dimensions used by the National Hockey League. This will ensure consistency in dimensions for all regular season, CCHA tournament and NCAA tournament games.
The CCHA will also adopt the 15-second faceoff rule that was popularized during the 2002 Winter Olympics. The procedure will be in effect for all games except games with television timeouts.
The league also welcomed its two newest coaches – Bowling Green’s Scott Paluch and Northern Michigan’s Walt Kyle. Neither are strangers to the CCHA as Paluch was an all-American defenseman at Bowling Green and served as an assistant to Jerry York from 1992-94 before moving with York to Boston College where he was associate head coach for seven of the last eight years. He replaces Buddy Powers.
Kyle returns to Northern Michigan where he captained the 1980 and 81 teams to the NCAA finals. He then served as an assistant to Rick Comley from 1982-92 before moving on to the pro ranks. He had been an assistant coach with the New York Rangers for the past two seasons. He replaces Comley who took over as head coach for Ron Mason.
Irish head coach Dave Poulin and his staff will take to the ice at the Joyce Center for the first official practice on Thur., Sept. 26. Notre Dame will play its annual Blue-Gold Intrasquad game on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 4:00 p.m. The following Friday night, Oct. 4, the Irish will host the University of Toronto in a preseason game at the Joyce Center with faceoff set for 7:05 p.m.