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. The 2020 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner will be announced on March 21 in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Frozen Four in Boston, Mass.
Jaime Bourbonnais is closing her career at Cornell with confidence.
The senior standout defenseman has Cornell ranked among the top-five teams in the country. Bourbonnais is also in the conversation for the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Award, presented annually to the top women’s college hockey player in the nation.
“It’s definitely a huge honor and it’s something that obviously means a lot to me,” Bourbonnais said. “I’ve been very fortunate to be able to play with the top women’s hockey players in the world. I’ve learned a lot from them, and I think it’s helped me bring my game up from my freshman year until now. I owe a lot to all of the girls who have really led and shaped me along the way.”
Bourbonnais leads defensive-minded Cornell with six goals and 30 points in 23 games played. She has earned a point in all but two games. Her longest, and current, point streak of the season is 11 games, a career high. Bourbonnais ranks ninth at Cornell in plus-minus with a plus-78, just three from the No. 8 spot. She needs 13 assists to be tied for 10th in program history.
Bourbonnais, the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Best Defenseman last season, ranks top five this season in points per game among defensemen and assists per contest nationally.
“I thought she had a terrific year last season,” Cornell head coach Doug Derraugh said. “She came in and turned it up a notch from last year. I feel her confidence is at another level, she’s improved her game in a number of areas and she’s certainly a big reason for our success so far.”
Bourbonnais, a Mississauga, Ontario, native, received a midseason confidence boost in December.
The Cornell standout blueliner was named to the Canada National Women’s Team roster for the first two games of the 2019-20 Rivalry Series, both won by the U.S. Women’s National Team.
“Those girls are incredible hockey players, but off the ice, they’re incredible people,” Bourbonnais said. “They were able to show me my capabilities and my abilities on the ice. Playing at that level gave me experience and showed me what it takes to get to the next level.”
Bourbonnais considers herself more of an offensive-minded defenseman. But the defensive side of Bourbonnais’ game is rapidly improving during her senior season.
“Offense is always fun, and I think everybody wants to contribute and be part of the offense,” Bourbonnais said. “But it’s really exciting for me to have a better season on the defensive side of the game. Just to feel confident, not only on offense, but also on defense has been really big. I think it will help me moving forward.”
Derraugh has witnessed a change in Bourbonnais this season.
“She’s always been great on the offensive side,” Derraugh said. “But I’ve seen the most improvement on the defensive side. She’s really committed and that’s a big reason why we’ve been strong as a team defensively this year.”
While Derraugh has noticed improvement in Bourbonnais’ defensive game, he still appreciates her natural offensive instincts.
“When you have a great defenseman like Jaime, you know she’s strong defensively and can take anyone one-on-one,” Derraugh said. “But she can also break the puck out herself with her deception and puck control. Having somebody who can do that as a defenseman certainly gives the whole team confidence when she’s back there.”
It has been an emotional senior season on the blueline for Bourbonnais, who wants to end it strong. Regardless of how the season ends, Bourbonnais has already made her mark with the Cornell women’s hockey team.
“It has been an honor to wear the Cornell jersey and I want to make sure I represent that well,” Bourbonnais said. “I can honestly say that this has been the best team I’ve ever played on, not only at Cornell, but in my life. It has been a lot of fun and I can’t wait to finish out the year with these girls.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Photo courtesy of Darl Zehr/Cornell Athletics.