TORONTO - The Saint John Sea Dogs are starting the season where they left off last year — on top.
The reigning Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Memorial Cup champions were ranked first in the Canadian Hockey League's weekly rankings on Wednesday, a day before the junior hockey season kicks off.
No. 2 were the Ontario Hockey League's Niagara IceDogs followed by the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks.
The Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL), the 2012 Memorial Cup hosts, are ranked fourth.
The Plymouth Whalers (OHL), Quebec Remparts (QMJHL), Kelowna Rockets (WHL), Sarnia Sting (OHL), Red Deer Rebels (WHL) and Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL) round out the list.
The Oshawa Generals (OHL), Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL) and London Knights (OHL) all earned honourable mentions.
A panel of National Hockey League scouts select the CHL's weekly power rankings.
Saint John will host the Moncton Wildcats on Thursday night to begin the QMJHL's regular season. The OHL begins play on Sept. 21, while the WHL begins on Sept. 22.