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