BEMIDJI -- For the first time in program history, the Bemidji State men’s hockey team has been ranked in the USCHO.com Division I preseason poll. The Beavers garnered 237 points to rank No. 16 in the first poll of the 2020-21 season released on Monday.
The preseason poll appearance is the first for the program that moved up to Division I in 1999-2000.
BSU was one of two Western Collegiate Hockey Association teams to crack the top 20. Reigning WCHA champion Minnesota State came in at No. 4 in the poll. Bowling Green, Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech also received votes.
North Dakota claimed the top spot in the rankings with 28 first-place votes. Also earning first-place votes were No. 2 Boston College (four), No. 3 Minnesota Duluth (three), No. 4 Minnesota State (one) and No. 6 Cornell (four). No. 5 Denver rounded out the top five.
Bemidji State ended the 2019-20 season ranked No. 11 in the final USCHO poll released March 23, two weeks after the conclusion of the season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Rising as high as No. 10 in the March 2 poll, the Beavers spent the final eight weeks of the year in the top 20 and finished the season 22-10-5.
The WCHA has not yet released a schedule for the 2020-21 season, though an announcement from the league is expected by Nov. 1, according to a news release from BSU.