The Men’s Badgers Hockey Club is off and running this week, but it looks like they’ll be doing some scratching and clawing to get into the good graces of the USA Hockey Top 20 rankings. The first poll is out, and the Wisconsin Badgers aren’t on it. It’s no surprise, as the Badgers have had a run of disappointing seasons where the 2020-2021 first-place finish was an anomaly. The team decided to make a change at head coach and brought in a new era with the arrival of Mike Hastings ahead of their 75th season.
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) October 2, 2023
Badgers Hockey Only Big Ten Team to Miss Top 20
Without Badgers hockey in the Top 20, it’s important to look at the other Big Ten Conference teams in the rankings. Minnesota is first on the list, taking the 2nd spot after going 19-4-1 in Big Ten play. They were ranked No. 2 at the end of last year as well. Michigan lands in the 4th spot following a tie at the end of last year for the 2nd ranking. They went 12-10-2 in Big Ten play but overall had a similar record to Minnesota with a 26-12-3 record.
Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, and Notre Dame were the other pieces to the Top 20, with Notre Dame landing at No. 19. The Wisconsin Badgers are the only team not listed from the Big Ten in the Top 20.
It remains to be seen whether the transfer portal for Badgers hockey will pay off, as Mike Hastings looks to make a first impression in his first year at the helm.