Canada West Hockey Previews

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EDMONTON – If the Canada West pre-season coaches polls are any indication, the race for first will be one to watch this season in both men's and women's hockey.

With the conference hockey season set to open this Friday, Canada West released the annual pre-season polls – voted on by the conference's eight men's and women's head coaches respectively – on Wednesday.

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In the men's poll, the defending conference champion Alberta Golden Bears and last year's U SPORTS silver medalist Saskatchewan Huskies are expected to compete once again for the CW crown. The pair finished tied in the poll, earning four first-place votes and three second-place votes apiece. 

Alberta and Saskatchewan are no strangers when it comes to battling for the conference championship, as the duo have met 19 times in the conference championship series, including three of the last five years. 

On the women's side, the Alberta Pandas (45 pts.), UBC Thunderbirds (43 pts.), and Manitoba Bisons (41 pts.) are all expected to challenge for top spot in the conference, as each team earned multiple first-place votes. Last season it was the T-Birds who claimed conference gold, with a three-game win over the Pandas, before Alberta went on to win the U SPORTS national title with a 2-1 double-overtime win over McGill.

The trio finished first through third last year in the regular season, with the T-Birds topping the standings with a 20-4-3-1 record – good for 67 points.

Both the men's and women's hockey seasons get underway this Friday with three men's games and four women's games on tap. 

Once again this season, every CW regular season and playoff hockey game will be available online at Canada West TV. You can watch the games by purchasing a Canada West TV pass here.

For fans looking to get a sneak peak of the conference's revamped streaming site this season, be sure to tune into the Canada West TV Game of the Week for free this Friday at 7 p.m. MDT, when the Alberta Golden Bears host the Mount Royal Cougars. You can watch the game by clickinghere.

For a complete look at all eight CW men's soccer teams, click here for the full conference preview, and for the full women's hockey preview, click here.

2017 CW men's hockey pre-season coaches poll

Place / Team / Points (First-place votes)

T1. Alberta & Saskatchewan / 46 (4)

3. Calgary / 37

4. UBC / 24

5. *Manitoba / 23

6. Mount Royal / 23

7. Lethbridge / 18

8. Regina / 7

NOTES: First-place vote worth 7 pts., second-place worth 6 pts. etc. / *Awarded higher position based on greater number of higher placed votes.       

2017 CW women's hockey pre-season coaches poll

Place / Team / Points (First-place votes)

1. Alberta / 45 (4)

2. UBC / 43 (2)

3. Manitoba / 41 (2)

4. Saskatchewan / 29

5. Regina / 22

6. Mount Royal / 21

7. Calgary / 13

8. Lethbridge / 10 

NOTES: First-place vote worth 7 pts., second-place worth 6 pts. etc.