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(Not Quite) Complete College Hockey Weekly Polls 1970-Present

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  • (Not Quite) Complete College Hockey Weekly Polls 1970-Present

    For the past few years, I've been gathering and recording old college hockey polls to establish a repository of top ten national rankings from 1970 to the present. I have found some newspaper stories mentioning national and regional (split between east and west) polls before 1970, but they are very sparse and not well documented or cited.

    All Polls
    1970-Present (WKOW, WMPL, USCHO) | All Other Polls

    WKOW Poll:
    1970-1971

    WMPL Poll:
    1972-1973 | 1973-1974 | 1974-1975 | 1975-1976 | 1976-1977 | 1977-1978 | 1978-1979 | 1979-1980 | 1980-1981 | 1981-1982 | 1982-1983 | 1983-1984 | 1984-1985 | 1985-1986 | 1986-1987 | 1987-1988 | 1988-1989 | 1989-1990 | 1990-1991 | 1991-1992 | 1992-1993 | 1993-1994 | 1994-1995 | 1995-1996

    USCHO/Around The Rinks Poll:
    1996-1997

    For continuity, I've kept the polls at just the top ten. Also, I chose the two longest running polls, WMPL and USCHO. I've also eliminated the poll USCHO releases after the national championship because most of the older polls stopped publishing once the NCAA tournament started (and sometimes before the conference championship weekends). And, let's face it, a poll after a champion is decided is superfluous.

    There are still 11 weekly polls that are incomplete. There are also maybe 18 weekly polls still missing. I'm not sure if the other 14 weeks are missing or just don't exist. I'd appreciate it if anyone could help fill in the gaps.

    ---

    Some poll history...

    For 29 seasons from 1972-2001, Bob Olson ran a weekly poll voted on by coaches for college hockey out of a small radio station in the remote outpost of Houghton, Michigan. His story and the story of the WMPL poll is familiar to most of us who remember college hockey long before the internet (like myself). The less familiar story is that of Gary Bender (a future play-by-play man for the NFL on CBS) who started the first weekly national rankings for college hockey.

    Gary Bender was working Badger hockey games for WKOW radio in Madison when he conceived of and started the first weekly national poll. First published in December 1970, the poll would have a short life as it died after the 1970-71 season concluded. Bender had left WKOW in 1971 to call Packer games and no one at the station continued the weekly rankings. College hockey was left without a national poll for one season.

    That's where Olson came in. He reignited the national poll concept in October 1972 and college hockey has had a weekly national ranking ever since. In fact, at times, college hockey had too many rankings. In addition to WKOW and WMPL, there have been 15 or more different national polls. By the 1994-95 season there were at least four different rankings (WMPL, WMEB, College Hockey USA, and Troy Record). The wild, wild west of rankings drove the Colorado Springs newspaper's sports editor to just add all four rankings together, divide by four, and publish that result as the official college hockey ranking.

    Things have settled down since with USCHO.

    Sparse findings with limited citations
    1961: "UPI Poll" (possibly a east/west poll)
    1965-66: "UPI Poll" (possibly a east/west poll)
    1966-67: "UPI Poll" (possibly a east/west poll)
    1966-67: Boston Hockey Coaches and Writers Association Poll (possibly a east only poll)
    1967-68: A national college hockey poll from "a publication out of St. Paul, Minnesota"
    1968-69: A college hockey coaches poll from "a midwestern publication"

    NATIONAL POLLS 1970-PRESENT
    1970-1971: WKOW - Madison, Wis.
    1972-2001: WMPL - Hancock, Mich.
    1974(?)-1977(?): KBIL - St. Louis, Mo.
    1981(?)-1985(?): WDOM - Providence, R.I.
    1985(?)-1998(?): WMEB - Orono, Maine
    1989(?)-1994: Albany (N.Y.) Times-Union
    1994-?: Troy (N.Y.) Record
    1996-1997: USCHO.com/Around the Rinks
    1997-Present: USCHO
    ?-Present: USA Today

    OTHER DEFUNCT NATIONAL POLLS 1970s-1990s
    A media poll by a collection of student newspapers (early to mid 1990s)
    American Hockey Coaches Association (mid 1990s)
    Boston Globe (late 1970s)
    College Hockey USA (early to mid 1990s)
    ESPN/Hockey News (about 1980-1981)
    KBJR - Duluth, Minn. (early 1990s)
    The Hockey News (early 1980s)
    The Sporting News (early 1980s)
    NCAA Poll* (1980?-1992)

    *voted on by members of the NCAA selection committee, the poll ran weekly in the few weeks leading up to the NCAA tournament and later in its existence, the poll ran weekly starting in January
    Last edited by John Biasi; 04-17-2017, 09:26 PM.

  • #2
    Re: (Not Quite) Complete College Hockey Weekly Polls 1970-Present

    This is fantastic. Thank you.

    More stuff to appreciate us Yoopers for haha
    In Mel We Trust(ed)

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    • #3
      Re: (Not Quite) Complete College Hockey Weekly Polls 1970-Present

      Awesome, I was just thinking about having THG archive the WMPL, glad to see someone else took that even farther.
      Michigan Tech Legend, Founder of Mitch's Misfits, Co-Founder of Tech Hockey Guide, and Creator/Host of the Chasing MacNaughton Podcast covering MTU Hockey and the WCHA.

      Sports Allegiance: NFL: GB MLB: MIL NHL: MIN CB: UW CF: UW CH: MTU FIFA: USA MLS: MIN EPL: Everton

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      • #4
        Re: (Not Quite) Complete College Hockey Weekly Polls 1970-Present

        It was cool to look back at the 79-80 season polls to relive NMU's rise to national prominence. Great memories. Thanks.

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        • #5
          Re: (Not Quite) Complete College Hockey Weekly Polls 1970-Present

          Tidbits... "UMass Lowell" didn't exist until 1990 and "Massachusetts-Lowell" is not a used moniker. We stopped using the hyphen a few years ago. Pre-1990 it would have been University of Lowell
          BS UML '04, PhD UConn '09

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          • #6
            Re: (Not Quite) Complete College Hockey Weekly Polls 1970-Present

            Originally posted by John Biasi View Post
            I've also eliminated the poll USCHO releases after the national championship because most of the older polls stopped publishing once the NCAA tournament started (and sometimes before the conference championship weekends). And, let's face it, a poll after a champion is decided is superfluous.
            No it's not! RIT's only top-ten appearance was in the post-tournament poll in 2010 (though they might have been in the top-10 in a post-regional poll if USCHO did them).


            Powers &8^]

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            • #7
              Re: (Not Quite) Complete College Hockey Weekly Polls 1970-Present

              Some things of note...

              Three teams who no longer have hockey programs have made an appearance in the Top Ten:
              Penn (2 appearances at No. 10)
              Illinois-Chicago (10 appearances, ranked as high as No. 9)
              St. Louis (50 appearances, ranked as high as No. 3)

              Longest streak ranked at No. 1
              (remembering the polls aren't complete)

              WEEKS -- TEAM -- DATES
              21 -- Michigan State -- November 13, 2000 - October 22, 2001
              17 -- North Dakota -- November 9, 1998 - March 22, 1999
              16 -- Michigan -- November 11, 1996 - March 3, 1997
              15 -- Maine -- November 23, 1992 - March 15, 1993
              15 -- Wisconsin -- October 26, 1981 - February 15, 1982
              14 -- Michigan -- November 22, 1993 - February 28, 1994*
              12 -- North Dakota -- November 10, 2003 - February 2, 2004
              12 -- Minnesota -- December 20, 1982 - October 31, 1983
              12 -- Wisconsin -- December 13, 1976 - March 7, 1976
              11 -- Miami -- October 13, 2009 - January 4, 2010
              11 -- Michigan Tech -- January 7, 1974 - November 4, 1974

              *could be more weeks but polls are incomplete

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              • #8
                Re: (Not Quite) Complete College Hockey Weekly Polls 1970-Present

                Originally posted by Patman View Post
                Tidbits... "UMass Lowell" didn't exist until 1990 and "Massachusetts-Lowell" is not a used moniker. We stopped using the hyphen a few years ago. Pre-1990 it would have been University of Lowell
                Thanks for the reminders. I'm old enough to remember when Lowell was actually just Lowell. I kept the name consistent to attribute past success with the current name.

                The hyphen isn't meant to be a slight. USCHO still uses the hyphen in the poll. Sometimes the New York Times uses the hyphen. The Boston Globe mainly uses UMass Lowell. ESPN and the Associated Press are all over the place from no hyphen to hyphen to UMass Lowell to UMass-Lowell to Mass Lowell to Mass-Lowell. That's got to be pretty frustrating for UML.

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                • #9
                  Re: (Not Quite) Complete College Hockey Weekly Polls 1970-Present

                  Update: I'm still verifying all the polls with newspaper clippings, but I believe this is complete except for one poll each in 1970 and 1994.

                  Continuous Polls
                  1970-Present (WKOW 1970-71, WMPL 1972-96, USCHO 1996-Present)

                  WKOW Poll
                  1970-1971 *December 28, 1970 poll is incomplete

                  WMPL Poll:
                  Still working on the polls from 1996-2001
                  1972-1973
                  1973-1974
                  1974-1975
                  1975-1976
                  1976-1977
                  1977-1978
                  1978-1979
                  1979-1980
                  1980-1981
                  1981-1982
                  1982-1983
                  1983-1984
                  1984-1985
                  1985-1986
                  1986-1987
                  1987-1988
                  1988-1989
                  1989-1990
                  1990-1991
                  1991-1992
                  1992-1993
                  1993-1994
                  1994-1995 *October 17, 1994 poll is incomplete
                  1995-1996

                  USCHO/Around The Rinks Poll:
                  1996-1997
                  Last edited by John Biasi; 01-08-2019, 09:44 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: (Not Quite) Complete College Hockey Weekly Polls 1970-Present

                    Originally posted by Patman View Post
                    "UMass Lowell" didn't exist until 1990
                    1991

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