Clarkson University junior forward Elizabeth Giguère has been awarded the 2020 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. The honors were presented to Giguère via a YouTube Live event hosted by USA Hockey after the Frozen Four and Patty Kazmaier Ceremony were cancelled due to COVID-19.
The award, which is in its 23rd year, is presented annually to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s hockey by the USA Hockey Foundation.
Giguère is the third winner from Clarkson University, joining Jamie Lee Rattray, who won in 2014 and Loren Gabel, who won in 2019. Giguère was selected from a group of three finalists that included sophomore forward Alina Mueller (Northeastern) and senior forward Abby Roque (University of Wisconsin).
She led the nation with 37 goals and was tied for second in the country with 66 points. Her ten game-winning goals are tied for best in the nation. This was the second-straight year that Giguère was named a Patty Kazmaier top-10 finalist. She was named ECAC Player of the Year and was named a first-team All-American for the second consecutive season.
A skilled playmaker that combines size and speed, Giguère spent her first two seasons as a set-up and supporting player, breaking the program’s assist record in December of her junior year in 32 fewer games than the previous record-holder. In her first two years, she said her instinct was to look for (Gabel), but in her junior season she worked on strengthening her shot and being more deliberate with the puck in the neutral zone. The result was a more balanced year where she scored more than she assisted. Giguère is one of the best in the game in transition, using her size to win puck position and her speed to put herself in alone on goaltenders.
“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,” said Clarkson coach Matt Desrosiers in an email statement. “What Elizabeth was able to do considering the amount of injuries we had suffered to some key contributors, was nothing short of remarkable. We have been fortunate to have had some great players come through our program at Clarkson, 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. Elizabeth is a special player that had a special season and very deserving of the Patty Kazmaier award.”
Despite losing the supporting pieces she’d become accustomed to playing with, Giguère continued to amass truly astounding numbers as she took on more of a leadership role and helped carry Clarkson to the postseason. In 118 career games, Giguère has 90 goals and 120 assists for 210 points, which leaves her four points from breaking Clarkson’s all-time points record with a full season of eligibility left.
In a pre-taped segment, Giguère thanked her family, coaches and teammates for helping her win the award.
“It’s kind of unreal right now. I’m kind of on a high. Today I saw the list of all the players that won the award before me. It’s something really special for me and my school and the team. I’m so overwhelmed,” Giguère said via a virtual press conference after receiving the award.
Despite the unusual circumstances surrounding the end of the season and presentation of the award, Giguère was in good spirits. Generally easy going overall, the changes in the circumstance of receiving the award haven’t dimmed her ability to enjoy and celebrate her win.
“That’s what I do in life. You can’t control everything. We can’t control this. I’m here and I’m still happy. I’m just enjoying this. Something changes, you just have to adapt to it, so that’s what I’m going to do,” she said.
She had family members and her teammates on a virtual conference call to share in the moment she was announced the winner and was planning to conference with the team again later in the day to celebrate.