On the eve of the NCAA championship game, Harvard’s Jennifer Botterill received the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award for the second time in her career. The award, given annually to the top collegiate women’s ice hockey player by the USA Hockey Foundation, was also won by Botterill in 2001.
Botterill becomes the first two-time Kazmaier winner in the award’s six-year history. Botterill, also named the ECAC Player of the Year, leads the nation in scoring this season with 111 points, was recently named an All-American for a record fourth time, and is the all-time leading career scorer in Division I ice hockey, men’s or women’s, with 339 points. She is a senior majoring in psychology with a 3.00 grade point average.
“I have so much respect for all the players in this room, and in this sport,” said Botterill, to a standing ovation at the awards banquet. “It’s an honor to be associated with Patty Kazmaier. She exemplifies things we all strive to be as a student-athlete.”
The award banquet was held on the evening between the semifinal and championship games of the Frozen Four. The three finalists, Botterill, teammate Angela Ruggiero, and Minnesota-Duluth’s Jenny Potter all will be playing in the title game.
All three insisted the hype surrounding the award wasn’t a distraction.
“We’re playing tomorrow, aren’t we?” said Ruggiero.
The guest speaker at the banquet, Donna Lopiano, Executive Director of the Women’s Sports Foundation, spoke of the increased opportunities women have in sports and in life.
“In 1972, if a woman wanted a credit card, a father or husband or brother needed to sign for her, even if he was out of work,” Lopiano said. “In 1972, there were 295,000 girls playing high school sports. Today, that number is 2.8 million.”
After all Division I coaches select 10 finalists, a 13-member selection committee submits ballots. The ballots are compiled by the accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Cooper LLP, the same firm that compiles the Hobey Baker Memorial Award and the Academy Award ballots, among others.
The award is named after Patty Kazmaier, a Princeton graduate who led her team to three consecutive Ivy League championships as a defenseman. Kazmaier lost a long struggle with a rare blood disease in 1990.
Candidates must play for a women’s varsity ice hockey program at an NCAA school. Selection criteria include individual and team skills, sportmanship, performance in the clutch, personal character, competitiveness and love of hockey.