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Last season was the first time in two years that the ECAC didn’t have a team playing in the final game of the season.

If a league team returns to the national championship game this April for the third time in four years, it will be a fitting bit of symmetry for the 2015-16 season, as Colgate and Mercyhurst play the first official game of the year today at 7 p.m..

The Raiders have made it to the last two ECAC title games in Lake Placid, and despite losing forward Kyle Baun and defenseman Ryan Johnston to the pros over the offseason, Colgate should be in the thick of things again this year.

Mercyhurst and the Raiders  conclude the two-game series with a 4 p.m. start Sunday. I’ll take Colgate in both games.

Other league teams are set to play exhibition games this weekend, with Clarkson, St. Lawrence, Rensselaer, and Quinnipiac all hosting Canadian schools.

We’ll roll out a full ECAC preview next Friday, but in the mean time, check out a look at some of the top defensemen, forwards, and goalies profiled by USCHO as the new season begins. Several league players made each list.

And finally, some coverage notes as the season gets underway:

In case you’re unaware, colleague Brian Sullivan has moved on from my partner on the ECAC beat.  He’ll still check in throughout the year, so look for some features from him and thoughts on Twitter (@Sullivanhockey).

I mentioned it this summer when the news became official, but it was a great experience working with Brian. This December will mark four years since I began this position, and Brian’s reporting and knowledge on the league was invaluable to me, as well as the many readers we’ve interacted with over the years.

With that said, please welcome Josh Weinreb to USCHO. He’s an experienced reporter and should be a great addition this season.  Check him out on Twitter (@JoshWeinreb).

Look back next week for the season previews, and be sure to keep up-to-date with the blog, as Josh and I will post our weekly picks on Friday and share some thoughts on the past weekend each Monday.