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Gophers No. 2 in preseason Big Ten Hockey coaches poll

The University of Minnesota Golden Gophers will start the 2013-14 hockey season No. 2 in the Big Ten Hockey Conference, according to the Big Ten preseason coaches poll. The Wisconsin Badgers will start the season No. 1 in the newly formed conference.

With the inaugural year of the Big Ten Hockey Conference, coaches and players from the six participating conference programs met at the Xcel Energy Center on Thursday to take part in the first Big Ten Hockey Media Day. Minnesota head coach Don Lucia was joined by captains Nate Condon and Kyle Rau for the event.

Rau, the leading scorer for Minnesota last year, was also an unanimous selection to the conference’s Preseason Players to Watch list. Joining Rau are sophomores Mike Reilly on defense and Adam Wilcox in goal.

Minnesota hopes to return to the Xcel Energy Center next spring for the first Big Ten Hockey Tournament, which will take place March 20-22.

“It almost seems like in many ways, it’s a new job,” Lucia said of the new conference. “It’s so fresh this year with entering a new conference, even though we’ve played many of the teams over the years, this is the first time we’ll be playing each of the Big Ten members four times. I think it’s going to be an exciting year, not only for us, but certainly our fans.”

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