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UMD women's hockey: No Bulldog has won the Patty Kazmaier. Can Hughes become the first?

The winner of the 2022 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award will be announced Saturday morning on NHL Network

Minnesota Duluth women’s hockey prepares for Frozen Four semifinal at Pegula Ice Arena
Minnesota Duluth forward Gabbie Hughes (17) and Minnesota Duluth forward Elizabeth Giguere (8) talk during practice on Thursday, March 17, 2022, at Pegula Ice Arena in University Park, Pennsylvania, during the NCAA Frozen Four. Giguere won the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award in 2020 with Clarkson. Hughes is a top-three finalist for this year's award.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — Since it was first awarded in 1998, the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award has never been bestowed upon a Minnesota Duluth Bulldog as the top player in NCAA Division I women’s hockey.

Could Gabbie Hughes change all of that on Saturday?

The 25th winner of the Patty Kazmaier will be announced on NHL Network between 10:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, with Hughes — the Bulldogs senior center — among the top-three finalists as one of the top-three votegetters along with Minnesota senior forward Taylor Heise and Ohio State senior defenseman Sophie Jacques.

Live interviews with Hughes, Heise and Jacques will take place during the hour-long show, with the winner announced toward the end.

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.
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Hughes makes the top 10 for the first time in her college career while Giguere, the former Clarkson Golden Knight and 2020 Patty Kaz winner, is among the top 10 for a fourth-straight season.
Minnesota Duluth senior center Gabbie Hughes is the Bulldogs' second Hockey Humanitarian Award finalist in school history. She has brought awareness this season to mental health issues facing youth and college athletes through her work with Sophie's Squad.
Minnesota Duluth senior center Gabbie Hughes is not only leading the nation in points per game, she's also leading the way on mental health awareness.
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Bulldogs senior center Gabbie Hughes is sporting a sticker with the initials 'SW' and the number '6' in honor of a girl she used to coach during the summers. 'Sophie' died this summer by suicide, and Hughes say she's now playing for her.

Hughes’ top-three finish marks the seventh time in program history that a Bulldog has come this close to winning the award. It's the most top-three finalists for a school that has never won the Patty Kaz.


Jenny Potter was named a top-3 finalist in back-to-back seasons as a junior in 2002-03 and a senior in 2003-04. In 2002-03, she lost out to the only two-time Patty Kaz winner, Jennifer Botterill of Brown, and despite finishing second in the country in scoring to teammate Caroline Ouelette, Potter lost in 2003-04 to Harvard’s Angela Ruggiero — the only defenseman to ever win the Patty Kaz.

Ouellette, who was in the top 10 as a junior forward in 2003-04, was a top-three finalist as a senior in 2004-05, but lost to Minnesota’s Kristy Wendell — the first from the WCHA to ever win the award.

In 2005-06, Bulldogs junior goaltender Riita Schaublin of Switzerland posted a .943 save percentage that was tops in the nation to land within the top three, but failed to become the second goalie ever to win the award when it went to Wisconsin forward Sara Bauer.

Another Bulldogs goaltender, sophomore Kim Martin of Sweden, made the top three in 2007-08 when she backstopped the Bulldogs to a national championship as a first-team All-American goalie, however, the award went to Harvard forward Sarah Vaillancourt.

The most recent Bulldog before Hughes to land in the top three was senior forward Lara Stalder of Switzerland in 2016-17, but she met the same fate as the UMD’s other European finalists. Stalder led the country in scoring, but the award went to Wisconsin goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens.

No European has ever won the Patty Kaz, with all 24 of the previous winners coming from the United States or Canada. Harvard’s six Patty Kaz winners is the most all-time, followed by Wisconsin’s five. Minnesota has had the most finalists with Heise being the 10th. UMD is second with Hughes being the seventh.

The Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award was founded in 1998 and is awarded by the USA Hockey Foundation. Kazmaier was a four-year letter-winner at Princeton, leading the Tigers to Ivy League titles in 1982, 1983 and 1984. She died of a rare blood disease in 1990 at the age of 29.

Criteria for the Patty Kazmaier Award includes “outstanding individual and team skills, sportsmanship, performance in the clutch, personal character, competitiveness and a love of hockey.”


There is also consideration given to academic achievement and civic involvement.

Hughes is also a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, an all-division and all-gender honor in college hockey that goes to the sport’s “finest citizen.” She is one of three women’s hockey players to ever be named a top-three finalist for the Patty Kaz and to be among the finalists for the Hockey Humanitarian Award.

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.

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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