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UMD women's hockey: Bulldogs' Hughes named top-3 finalist for Patty Kazmaier, joins Giguere as All-American

WCHA rivals Sophie Jacques of Ohio State and Taylor Heise of Minnesota have also been named top-3 finalists for the Patty Kaz, and All-Americans.

Minnesota Duluth plays Minnesota in NCAA Division I Regional Final for a trip to Frozen Four
Minnesota Duluth forward Gabbie Hughes (17) pops her jersey while celebrating after scoring a third period goal against Minnesota on Saturday, March 12, 2022, at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis during the NCAA Women’s Hockey regional final.
Clint Austin / Duluth News Tribune

UNIVERSITY PARK, Penn. — Minnesota Duluth fifth-year senior wing Elizabeth Giguere — who won the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as a junior at Clarkson in 2020 — will not get to join Harvard’s Jennifer Botterill as the only two-time winners of the award this year.

But she did get to tell her linemate, Gabbie Hughes, “I told you so” on Thursday.

A vocal advocate for Hughes’ candidacy even before the top-10 finalists were ever announced, Giguere was happy to celebrate her teammate being named a top-3 finalist for the Patty Kaz on Thursday along with two other WCHA rivals — Minnesota senior forward Taylor Heise and Ohio State senior defenseman Sophie Jacques.

Jacques, Heise and Hughes were also named first-team All-Americans by the American Hockey Coaches Association on Thursday. Giguere was named to the second team for her fourth All-American honor in five seasons after landing on the first team in 2019 and 2020.


The announcement for the Patty Kaz came shortly after the Bulldogs wrapped up practice Thursday morning — and the All-Americans were announced in the afternoon — at Pegula Ice Arena on the campus of Penn State University. UMD takes on Northeastern at 2:30 p.m. Friday in the first semifinal of the NCAA Frozen Four.

Jacques — the WCHA Defenseman of the Year and WCHA Final Faceoff Most Outstanding Player — and the Buckeyes play Yale in the other semifinal at 6 p.m. Heise and the Gophers were knocked out of the tournament last week by the Bulldogs.

"I'm definitely humbled and honored to be in the top three for the award," Jacques said Thursday at Pegula. "I couldn't have done it without my teammates. They've been great all year. Just having great players to move the puck to has really helped me succeed."

Hughes played a major role in keeping the WCHA regular season champion Gophers out of the Frozen Four, scoring the game-winning goal last Saturday in the NCAA quarterfinal game at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 victory over their biggest rival.

Hughes also had a natural hat trick in UMD’s 4-0 first-round victory over Harvard last Thursday. She enters the Frozen Four with 59 points in 39 games, which is tied for third in the nation. Her 22 goals rank among the top 10 in the country, and her 37 assists are among the top five.

“She’s been doing good, huh?” Giguere said with a smile on Thursday at Pegula when asked about Hughes’ Patty Kaz candidacy. The question came before the top-3 were announced. “She deserves it more than anyone. What she did in the regular season, she’s doing it right now in the postseason. I’m not surprised, I’m very happy for her and hopefully it keeps going.”

As strong as Hughes has been on the ice, it’s off the ice where she has separated herself from the other finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award, argue those such as Giguere.


One of just three players to be a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award and in the top-3 for the Patty Kaz, Hughes has been a strong advocate this season for mental health issues impacting college, high school and youth athletes, working with UMD’s Green Bandana Project and helping found Sophie’s Squad.

The Green Bandana Project is a mental health awareness campaign on UMD’s campus, where student-athletes tie a green bandana to their backpacks to show support for mental health and to signal solidarity with those struggling with mental illness. They also carry a resource card with local and national information for organizations such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and UMD Counseling Center.

Sophie’s Squad is in honor of 14-year-old Sophie Wieland, who died by suicide over the summer. Wieland was a friend and player that Hughes and her family had coached. Sophie’s Squad to help raise awareness of mental health issues facing athletes at the youth and college level, and the organization held a Hockey Hits Back event this season at Amsoil Arena to raise funds and awareness of mental health.

“Gabbie is an amazing player and person. So many people don't know what she does outside the rink, and I think that's a big thing that should go with the award,” Giguere said earlier this month. “She manages her time so well. What she did with the Green Bandana Project and Sophie’s Squad this year was, just for me, was mind blowing because I had never been part of this before.”

Hughes is the seventh Bulldog to be named a top-3 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award and the first since Lara Stalder made the top 3 in 2017. No Bulldog has ever won the Patty Kazmaier (though a Patty Kazmaier winner, Giguere, has played at UMD).

The 2022 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award will be announced during an hour-long television special on NHL Network at 10:30 a.m. on March 26.

Yale's Bolding named national coach of the year

The AHCA named Yale's Mark Bolding as the Division I Women's Coach of the Year after leading his Bulldogs to their first NCAA tournament appearance and their first Frozen Four appearance. Bolding was a three-time Division III national coach of the year at Norwich.

UMD coach Maura Crowell, the Division I Women's Coach of the Year in 2017, was a finalist for the second consecutive season in 2021-22.

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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