Jessie Vetter, a senior goaltender from Wisconsin, is the 2009 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner. In its 12th year, the award is presented annually by The USA Hockey Foundation to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey.
Vetter received the award in Boston Saturday at a brunch ceremony at the Royal Sonesta Hotel Boston. She was chosen from a group of three finalists that also included Meghan Agosta, a junior forward from Mercyhurst; and Sarah Vaillancourt, a senior forward from Harvard.
“Jessie is the backbone of our team and without her, similar to our last three seasons, we wouldn’t be where we are today,” said Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson. “She has certainly proven that she is not only the best goaltender at the collegiate level but internationally as well.”
Vetter has backstopped the Badgers to unprecedented success throughout her career. She has been between the pipes for all but one game this season and has posted 31 wins, including Friday night’s 5-1 victory over Minnesota Duluth to send Wisconsin to the NCAA championship game for a fourth straight year. Her efforts helped the Badgers garner a No. 1 ranking for 13 weeks of the regular season.
Vetter’s 13 shutouts in 2008-09 set a new NCAA record, while her 38 career shutouts and 89 wins are also tops in the NCAA. She has started the last three NCAA championship games and is 9-1-0 in NCAA tournament action going into Sunday’s final, which will be shown live at noon ET on CBS College Sports.
The Badger alternate captain holds a 31-2-5 record and leads the nation with a .940 save percentage and 2281:55 minutes played. She ranks second overall with a 1.29 goals-against average and her .885 winning percentage is fourth in the NCAA.
In WCHA play, Vetter held a 21-2-5 record and ranked second with a 1.50 GAA and .931 save percentage. For her efforts, she garnered First Team All-WCHA honors. In the conference tournament, Vetter made 40 saves in two wins, including 15 against then top-ranked Minnesota to capture the championship. She was named to the all-tournament team and garnered WCHA Final Faceoff MVP honors.
During the regular season, Vetter earned WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors on Oct. 29 and Feb. 4. In addition, she earned USCHO.com National Defensive Player of the Week awards in consecutive weeks (Oct. 29 and Nov. 4).
Off the ice, Vetter has been involved in the local community in Madison, Wis. She has made presentations at multiple schools including Taylor Prairie, Waunakee Arboretum Elementary and St. Jerome. Further, she participated in the Easter Seals golf fundraiser and visited the Ronald McDonald House.
An award of The USA Hockey Foundation, the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award recognizes the accomplishments of the most outstanding player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey each season. Selection criteria includes outstanding individual and team skills, sportsmanship, performance in the clutch, personal character, competitiveness and a love of hockey. Consideration is also given to academic achievement and civic involvement.
The recipient is chosen by a 13-member selection committee comprised of NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey coaches, representatives of the print and broadcast media and a representative of USA Hockey.
The Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award is named in honor of the late Patty Kazmaier, who was a four-year varsity letter-winner and All-Ivy League defenseman for Princeton University from 1981-86. An accomplished athlete who helped lead the Tigers to the Ivy League championship in three consecutive seasons (1981-84), Patty Kazmaier-Sandt died on Feb. 15, 1990, at the age of 28 following a long struggle with a rare blood disease.
Past Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Winners
Year Name, School
1998 Brandy Fisher, New Hampshire
1999 A.J. Mleczko, Harvard
2000 Ali Brewer, Brown
2001 Jennifer Botterill, Harvard
2002 Brooke Whitney, Northeastern
2003 Jennifer Botterill, Harvard
2004 Angela Ruggiero, Harvard
2005 Krissy Wendell, Minnesota
2006 Sara Bauer, Wisconsin
2007 Julie Chu, Harvard
2008 Sarah Vaillancourt, Harvard