DULUTH, Minn. – Sarah Vaillancourt (Sherbrooke, Que.), a junior forward from Harvard University, is the 2008 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner. In its 11th year, the award is presented annually by The USA Hockey Foundation to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey.
Vaillancourt received the award here tonight at a dinner ceremony at the Radisson Hotel Duluth Harborview. She was chosen from a group of three finalists that also included Meghan Agosta (Ruthven, Ont.), a sophomore forward from Mercyhurst College, and Kim Martin (Stockholm, Sweden), a sophomore goaltender from the University of Minnesota Duluth.
“Sarah is the most significant reason our team had the success that it did this season,” said Harvard Head Coach Katey Stone. “I have never had a harder working player since I’ve been at Harvard. Her vision of the game far exceeds that of her peers.”
Vaillancourt, who was a top-10 finalist for the Kazmaier Award in 2007, was an instrumental force in one of Harvard's best seasons on record. She led the Crimson to 32 wins and the top seed in the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four, where the team suffered just its second loss of the season in the national semifinal.
In leading Harvard with 62 overall points (26-36), she helped the team to an undefeated 26-0-0 record in ECAC Hockey play to capture both the regular-season and playoff championships. She paced the conference with 40 points, 18 goals, 22 assists and 20 power-play points (6-14) and was named both the ECACH and Ivy League Player of the Year.
Vaillancourt was selected to the RBK Hockey/AHCA All-America First Team, after being a Second Team honoree in 2006-07. In only her junior season, Vaillancourt currently stands eighth on Harvard's all-time scoring list with 185 points (81-104), and is also eighth on both the school's career goals and assists lists.
Beyond her hockey achievements, Vaillancourt, an Olympic gold medalist, has been active in her hometown community. There, she has helped raise money for the CHUS hospital in Sherbrooke, Que., and was the president of honor for the sick children in the region. In addition, she speaks to Canadian elementary and high school students on following their dreams and perseverance.
NOTES: Sarah Vaillancourt is the sixth Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner from Harvard (A.J. Mleczko-1999, Jennifer Botterill-2001 & 2003, Angela Ruggiero-2004, Julie Chu-2007) … The 2008 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Dinner was held in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four, which will conclude with the championship game between defending champion University of Wisconsin and the University of Minnesota Duluth tomorrow (March 22) at 12:30 p.m. CDT at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center … The Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award 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 National Governing Body for the sport of ice hockey in the United States … The Kazmaier Award is supported in part by a grant from the National Hockey League Foundation.
ABOUT THE PATTY KAZMAIER MEMORIAL AWARD
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.
ABOUT PATTY KAZMAIER
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.