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Hughes, Bell named to preseason All-WCHA team; Bulldogs slotted fourth

Minnesota Duluth's Gabbie Hughes and Ashton Bell are among a group of players who were either top-three finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award a year ago, or Olympic gold medalists from Beijing.

Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey prepares for Frozen Four semifinal at Pegula Ice Arena
Minnesota Duluth forward Gabbie Hughes (17) skates with the puck during practice on Thursday, March 17, 2022, at Pegula Ice Arena in University Park, Pennsylvania. Hughes and teammate Ashton Bell were named to the 2022-23 All-WCHA preseason team.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — Minnesota Duluth fifth-year seniors Ashton Bell and Gabbie Hughes were named to the 2022-23 Preseason All-WCHA team on Tuesday while the Bulldogs were slotted fourth in the eight-team conference poll.

Hughes, an All-American center and finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award last season, is joined on the preseason all-league team by her fellow Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award top-three finalists from a year ago — Minnesota fifth-year senior forward Taylor Heise and Ohio State fifth-year senior defenseman Sophie Jacques. Heise, the Patty Kazmaier winner last season, was named the WCHA Preseason Player of the Year.

Bell, an All-American defenseman who centralized with Team Canada last season, is one of two Olympic gold medalists on the All-WCHA preseason team along with Ohio State fifth-year senior forward Emma Maltais. The pair helped Canada win three gold medals in the last 12 months — two at World Championships and one at the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.

Buckeyes junior goaltender Amanda Thiele was the preseason All-WCHA team goaltender while Wisconsin freshman defenseman Caroline Harvey was the WCHA Preseason Rookie of the Year.

Minnesota took the top spot in this year’s preseason WCHA poll, tying beating No. 2 Ohio State with three first-place votes, but edging the Buckeyes by a point in voting by the coaches. The defending national champion Buckeyes are No. 1 in both national preseason polls to start the year.


Wisconsin was picked third after receiving two first-place votes.

WCHA Preseason Awards

Preseason WCHA Player of the Year
Taylor Heise, 5Yr., F, Minnesota (7 votes).
Others receiving votes: Emma Maltais, 5Yr., Fr., Ohio State (1).

Preseason WCHA Rookie of the Year
Caroline Harvey, Fr., D, Wisconsin (6).
Others receiving votes: Kirsten Simms, Fr., F, Wisconsin (2).

Preseason All-WCHA Team
Forward: Gabbie Hughes, 5Yr., Minnesota Duluth
Forward: Taylor Heise, 5Yr., Minnesota
Forward: Emma Maltais, 5Yr., Ohio State
Defense: Sophie Jaques, 5Yr., Ohio State
Defense: Ashton Bell, 5Yr., Minnesota Duluth
Goaltender: Amanda Thiele, Jr., Ohio State
Others receiving votes (listed alphabetically by position): 
Forwards: Jesse Compher, Sr., Wisconsin; Britta Curl, RSr., Wisconsin; Lacey Eden, RSo., Wisconsin; Grace Zumwinkle, 5Yr., Minnesota.
Defense: Caroline Harvey, Fr., Wisconsin; Nicole LaMantia, 5Yr., Wisconsin; Anna Wilgren, Sr., Minnesota State.
Goaltender: Emma Soderberg, 5Yr., Minnesota Duluth.

Emma Soderberg recorded her 12th career shutout while Mannon McMahon and Anneke Linser scored two goals each for the win over the Nittany Lions.

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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