It’s been a bit of a rough year for the WCHA. North Dakota’s season ending point total was one of the lowest for a WCHA champion ever. Minnesota, once thought to be the best team in the country, suffered through a 1-6-1 run late in the season. Minnesota State had a winless December, and Wisconsin started 0-6-1. Indeed, the WCHA has had competitive balance, but it has been a very mediocre conference for much of the season. North Dakota and Denver are bound for the NCAA tournament, but it is very possible that those are the only two teams to make the field. For a conference that once sent four teams to the Frozen Four, it has been an unthinkable season.
Still, the WCHA has been blessed with some amazing individual talent, and it starts with our 2009 player of the year, Wisconsin’s Jamie McBain. He doesn’t have an elite +/- rating, but much of that was accrued early in the season when Wisconsin got off to their terrible start. McBain was tied for 10th in the league in scoring at almost a point per game. McBain was the rock on Wisconsin’s talented blueline, and did so many things for that team both offensively and defensively.
The coach of the year almost has to be North Dakota’s Dave Hakstol. I’ve heard convincing arguments for George Gwozdecky of Denver, but Hakstol lead a young team to a MacNaughton Cup. Sure it was a down year for the league, but the Sioux were still the conference champions.
The rookie of the year came down to Denver’s Patrick Wiercioch and Minnesota’s Jordan Schroeder. Wiercioch was the 4th leading scorer for defensemen in the league, and he was 4th in the league in rookie scoring. But Schroeder was phenomenal all season. He led WCHA rookies with 44 points, and he was 4th overall in the league. His performance this year, and at the WJC put him in line to be a top 5 or top 10 NHL draft pick, and he will be all over Hobey radars at the beginning of next season.
All-WCHA First Team
F- Ryan Stoa, Minnesota
F- Justin Fontaine, Minnesota-Duluth
F- Garrett Roe, St. Cloud State
D- Jamie McBain, Wisconsin
D- Chay Genoway, North Dakota
G- Alex Stalock, Minnesota-Duluth
F- Jordan Schroeder, Minnesota
F- Chad Rau, Colorado College
F- MacGregor Sharp, Minnesota-Duluth
D- Josh Meyers, Minnesota-Duluth
D- Patrick Wiercioch, Denver
G- Marc Cheverie, Denver