The Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) released its preseason hockey polls on Tuesday, ahead of next week's start to the pandemic-shorted 2021 regular season.
The polled coaches ranked last year's state runner-up Fort Collins the top team in Class 5A ahead of defending state champion Valor Christian. The Eagles outlasted the Lambkins by scoring the state title game's only goal in the fifth session of overtime last March.
Ralston Valley ranks third in the preseason coaches' poll, pacing a second tier of teams that own a comparable amount of points in the poll. Fourth-ranked Regis Jesuit, the 2018 state champion, trails the Mustangs by just three points, followed by No. 5 Cherry Creek and No. 6 Monarch.
Seventh-ranked Denver East and No. 8 Chaparral find themselves in the top-10 preseason rankings for a third consecutive year. Mountain Vista, ranked No. 9, makes the preseason poll for the first time since 2016, while No. 10 Castle View cracks the list for the first time since 2017.
Battle Mountain opens the season as the team to beat in Class 4A. The Huskies were just outside the top 10 in last season's unclassified preseason poll as a team to be reckoned with regardless of class.
Second-ranked Kent Denver and No. 3 Cheyenne Mountain follow close behind Battle Mountain in the poll, followed by No. 4 Glenwood Springs and No. 5 Crested Butte.
Steamboat Springs garnered the sixth spot in the poll ahead of No. 7 Rampart, No. 8 Summit, No. 9 Mullen and No. 10 Pueblo County.
Rankings will be updated weekly by CHSAA throughout the season. The full Class 5A and Class 4A poll results are listed below.
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