The Western Michigan Broncos begin their 2018-2019 campaign in just a few weeks, but they are receiving some praise before the skates hit the ice.

The preseason polls for both US College Hockey Online and the National Collegiate Hockey Conference were released September 24th. The USCHO poll is one of two national polls, along with the USA Today poll, that tracks NCAA Division 1 hockey teams nationwide. In the preseason poll, the Broncos are one of five NCHC clubs that made the top 20, sliding in at 19th spot. The defending national champions and fellow NCHC foe, the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, earned the top spot with 44 of the 50 first-place votes.

If you review the 2018-2019 schedule for the Broncos, Western will see 4th-ranked Michigan in non-conference play, along with honorable mention Bowling Green. They could also potentially see honorable mention Air Force during the Ice Vegas Invitational in Las Vegas, either in the third-place game or the championship.

Of course, the NCHC schedule does not leave any off weeks, as all eight conference teams made the USCHO poll, as all eight teams received votes in the preseason poll. The Miami Redhawks received the lowest votes out of the conference nationally with two (still earning honorable mention).

When it comes to the conference preseason poll, Western earned the fourth-most votes with 121, trailing only Duluth, St. Cloud State and North Dakota. Individually, junior forward and associate captain Wade Allison was placed on the Preseason All-Conference team. Allison returns to the club after suffering a season-ending injury in January.

Stick around for more preseason coverage of Bronco Hockey, as captain Corey Schueneman and head coach Andy Murray are involved in NCHC Media Day coverage Tuesday. Below is a chat with the four captains from March discussing leadership, courtesy of Western Michigan Bronco Athletics.