The 2020 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner will be announced on Friday (March 27) at 1:30 p.m. ET. on USA Hockey's YouTube and Facebook channels. An award of The USA Hockey Foundation, the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award is presented annually to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey.
Senior forward Abby Roque helped lead her Wisconsin Badgers women’s hockey team to another successful season.
Roque’s stellar play also has the standout in the conversation for the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Award, presented annually to the top women’s college hockey player in the nation.
“I think it’s good to have that kind of consistency and to be in the conversation as one of the best female hockey players,” Roque said. “It’s just great to know that I’m putting my best foot forward for the team and getting this consideration.”
Roque, the 2019 WCHA Forward of the Year, finished the season among the nation’s scoring leaders. The Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., native established a career-best mark in goals and points while tying her best mark in assists.
“It’s honestly an honor,” she said. “There are so many great players who have been nominated and who have won the [Patty Kazmaier Award]. Just to be considered, and to be in that group, especially this year with the competition throughout the NCAA is really special.”
Roque’s accomplishments have opened up opportunities to represent USA Hockey, as seen in her selection to the 23-player roster of the U.S. Women’s National Team that faced Canada in the first two games of the 2019-20 Rivalry Series in December.
“It’s obviously a bit of a leap because you’re playing with the best players in the world,” Roque said. “Our team at Wisconsin is amazing and they challenge me every day in practice and games, but there’s an adjustment. Playing those games, it’s exciting, it’s fast and a great rivalry with Canada.”
Roque made her presence felt, scoring a goal in both of the Rivalry Series games. That helped the U.S. to a 4-1 victory in Hartford, Conn., and a 2-1 win in Moncton, New Brunswick. Roque’s backhander gave the U.S. a 3-1 lead in the opening game of the Rivalry Series, while her tally in the first four minutes of the second game set the tone for a one-goal victory.
“I was just focusing on my game, making sure I was doing my job and I was lucky enough to have two goals go in,” Roque said. “It was really cool and it was better that we won both games.”
Roque carried her momentum from the Rivalry Series back to Wisconsin where she was named the WCHA Forward of the Month for December.
“It obviously helps boost your confidence when you know you can go out and you’re capable of playing with the elite,” Roque said. “I just wanted to make sure I took those learning opportunities back to my game at Wisconsin.”
It worked for the Badgers, who boasted a line featuring Roque, Sophie Shirley — 2019 WCHA Rookie of the Year — and Daryl Watts, the 2018 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner while playing for Boston College.
“It’s obviously really fun because they’re both super talented players,” Roque said. “When we’re clicking it can be really special."
Roque is just outside the top 10 in school history in points, while she’s closing in on the No. 7 spot in career assists. Roque became only the eighth player in Wisconsin with more than 100 assists.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Photo courtesy of David Stluka