Just after midnight early Wednesday morning, the WCHA coaches' preseason hockey poll was released by Brad Elliott Schlossman, who covers North Dakota for the Grand Forks Herald. The Herald compiles the poll, so he sees it first.

Just like in the media poll, the Gophers are predicted to finish sixth. The media poll came out mid-day Tuesday.

The media and coaches seem to think -- not sure who should be worried more about that. Both polls had Denver finishing first. North Dakota and Colorado College are second and third in the coaches poll -- the reverse in the media poll.

Nebraska Omaha is fourth, UMD fifth and the Gophers sixth in both polls.

St. Cloud State is seventh and Wisconsin eighth in the coaches poll -- the reverse in the media poll.

The bottom four are the same in both polls: Alaska Anchorage is ninth, Bemidji State 10th, Minnesota State Mankato 11th and Michigan Tech 12th.

The coaches' preseason player of the year is CC forward Jaden Schwartz, the media picked DU's Jason Zucker. North Dakota forward Rocco Grimaldi was the rookie of the year in both polls.

The Gophers' first official practice is Saturday. They open the next day with an exhibition game against British Columbia.

41st annual Herald poll

(first-place votes in parentheses)

1. Denver (7) 115

2. UND (4) 110

3. Colorado College (1) 105

4. Nebraska-Omaha 89

5. Minn.-Duluth 75

6. Minnesota 74

7. St. Cloud State 61

8. Wisconsin 54

9. Alaska-Anchorage 36

10. Bemidji State 30

11. MSU-Mankato 29

12. Michigan Tech 14

Player of the year: Jaden Schwartz, F, CC (8), Justin Schultz, D, Wisc. (2), Terry Broadhurst, F, Omaha (1), Jack Connolly, F, UMD (1)

Rookie of the year: Rocco Grimaldi, F, UND (10), Joey LaLeggia, D, Denver (1), Jayson Megna, F, Omaha (1)