• Six conference teams will take the ice this weekend, with five teams making their 2017-18 debuts. Michigan, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Penn State will each begin their seasons with a Friday-Saturday series. Michigan State will make its 2017-18 debut on Oct. 13 at Bowling Green.
• This weekend also marks the opening of Big Ten play, as Ohio State travels to Madison to take on Wisconsin. The series will mark the first Big Ten Conference contests to be played in the month of October.
• Big Ten hockey will feature seven teams this season, as Notre Dame has joined the conference as a sport affiliate member for hockey. With the addition of the Fighting Irish, schedules for each of the seven conference programs will move to a 24-game format.
• During regular-season conference games, shootouts will be utilized to decide contests that remain tied following the conclusion of the five-minute overtime period. Each team will select three players with teams alternating shots. If the shootout remains tied at the end of three rounds, each team will select a different shooter in a sudden-death situation.
• The 2018 Big Ten Tournament will feature a new three-weekend format with all games taking place on the campus of the higher-seeded teams. The tournament will open March 2-4 with three best-of-three quarterfinal series, as the second-, third- and fourth-seeded teams will each host a series. The top-seeded team will have a bye to the single-elimination semifinals, which are scheduled for Saturday, March 10. The highest-seeded team remaining after the semifinals will host a championship game scheduled for Saturday, March 17.
• Wisconsin opened the 2017-18 season with a 3-2 victory over Michigan Tech in the U.S Hockey Hall of Fame Game. This is the sixth time the Badgers (1-0-0) have skated in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Game, improving to 5-1-0 in those contests.
• Four-time Big Ten Champion Minnesota was tabbed the favorite in the 2017-18 Big Ten hockey preseason coaches’ poll. The Gophers finished last season with a conference record of 14-5-1-0 (23-12-3 overall). Notre Dame was selected second in the preseason poll, with Wisconsin capturing third and defending Big Ten Tournament Champion Penn State taking fourth.
• The Preseason Watch List features 17 standouts due to ties, with a pair of unanimous selections in 2017 Big Ten Player of the Year Tyler Sheehy and Wisconsin’s Trent Frederic. Penn State’s Peyton Jones, the 2017 Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player, is one of five members of last year’s All-Freshman team to earn preseason recognition along with Minnesota’s Ryan Lindgren and Rem Pitlick, Penn State’s Denis Smirnov and 2017 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Frederic.
• The Preseason Watch List included a pair of students who were Academic All-Big Ten honorees last season in Ohio State’s Matthew Weis and Jobst.
• The Big Ten welcomes two new coaches this season as Mel Pearson becomes the ninth head coach in Michigan hockey history and Danton Cole becomes the seventh coach in Michigan State’s program history.