Canada’s Elizabeth Giguere named top NCAA women’s hockey player

Clarkson forward Elizabeth Giguere of Quebec City has been awarded the Patty Kazmaier Award that goes to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s hockey.

Giguere, Wisconsin forward Abby Roque of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and Northeastern forward Alina Mueller of Switzerland were the three finalists.

The award is named in honour of the late Patty Kazmaier, who played for Princeton from 1981 to 1986. She died at age 28 of a blood disease.

Giguere, a junior, led the NCAA in goals scored with 36, including 10 game-winners. She was second in points with 66 points for an average of 1.78 per game to help Clarkson to a 25-6-6 record.

“It would be hard to say that any one player has elevated their game or put their team on their shoulders more than Elizabeth has this year,” Clarkson head coach Matt Desrosiers said in a statement.

“We have been fortunate to have had some great players come through our program, but Elizabeth has displayed the ability to do things on the ice that just make you shake your head in amazement. One of the best attributes she has shown is the capability to make everyone around her better.”

Clarkson would have opened the NCAA women’s championship with a quarter-final game against Wisconsin on March 14, but the tournament was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canadian winners 3 straight years

The Kazmaier winner was scheduled to be announced in a March 21 ceremony during the Frozen Four tournament in Cambridge, Mass., but that was also cancelled.

“I know we all would have rather been playing in the NCAA tournament this year and attending the ceremony in Boston, but I’m grateful USA Hockey still did their best to make this announcement special,” Giguere said in a videotaped address.

“I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.”

Canadians have earned the honour nine times in its 22-year history, including each of the last three years.

Wisconsin goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens of La Malbaie, Que., Toronto’s Daryl Watts out of Boston College and Clarkson’s Loren Gabel of Kitchener, Ont., were winners from 2017 to 2019, respectively.

Giguere enters her senior year at Clarkson with 210 career points just four points back of the school record held by Gabel.

Previous Canadian winners of the Kazmaier include Clarkson’s Jamie Lee Rattray of Kanata, Ont. (2014), Mercyhurst’s Vicki Bendus of Wasaga Beach, Ont., (2010); Harvard’s Sarah Vaillancourt of Sherbrooke, Que., (2008); Wisconsin’s Sara Bauer of St. Catharines, Ont., (2006); and Harvard’s Jennifer Botterill of Winnipeg (2001, 2003).

The award winner and three finalists were chosen by a 13-person selection committee comprised of coaches, media and a USA Hockey representative.

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