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 2021 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner will be announced at a later date with more details to follow.
Quinnipiac standout forward Lexie Adzija has learned how to thrive in uncomfortable situations.
The 2020-21 season has certainly been a challenge for all NCAA Division I women’s hockey players, as they try to navigate through the schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic. But Adzija has been able to settle into a groove and place herself in the conversation for the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, presented annually to the top women’s college hockey player in the nation.
“It’s definitely not normal, but our coaches consistently talk about being uncomfortable and how that makes you a better person and a better player,” Adzija said. “I think you have to take things as they come. Things are going to change, and you have to be willing to adjust. It’s definitely an adjustment but being uncomfortable has prepared myself and our team for the situation.”
Adzija, a junior from St. Thomas, Ontario, is humbled at the recognition for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award.
“There are so many incredible players in women’s hockey right now,” Adzija said. “I’ve worked extremely hard over the years and the fact that my name is even being considered is a special feeling, I really can’t describe it.”
Adzija played 34 games as a sophomore and led Quinnipiac with 11 goals, 18 assists and 29 points, all career bests.
Through 10 games of the pandemic-shortened season, Adzija is well on her way towards breaking those marks with six goals, eight assists and 14 points. Her 1.4 points per game is her career high and among the best in the nation. She scored points in eight of her first 10 games, including a four-game streak and a four-point outing against Long Island University in January.
“My season is going very well,” Adzija said. “I’m off to a very good start and I want to continue that momentum, but I think that’s a testament to our program and how we’re able to develop players. Hopefully I can keep this up in the coming games.”
Adzija believes she’s grown from her sophomore to junior season, and it’s not necessarily just her on-ice skills that have shown improvement.
“I would say I’ve grown a ton in terms of my mental aspect of the game,” Adzija said. “This summer, not being able to skate that much, I took a lot of time to do a lot of mental reflection and mental growth. At this level, we’re all skilled, so I found what might separate me is my mental approach.”
Three years of experience at the NCAA level has also helped.
“Freshman year is always tough, just the adjustment and getting used to new systems,” Adzija said. “I think that now I’m a junior, things are definitely slowing down.”
Adzija plays in all special teams situations at Quinnipiac, important even-strength moments and is a center the Bobcats rely on to win faceoffs. Amanda Alessi, women’s hockey assistant at Quinnipiac, has watched Adzija dive into the process of perfecting her all-around game, including sleep, nutrition and training, and trusting that preparation when it’s time to compete.
“Lexie is a huge component to our team achieving success,” Alessi said. “Her compete level, especially in practice, pushes those around her to work harder. It’s been really fun to watch Lex grow and develop over her time here at Quinnipiac. She has an elite-level shot, off-the-charts compete level and hates to lose.”
Adzija is grateful Quinnipiac has played some semblance of a season, given the gravity of the pandemic and its effects on college athletics. She’s also pleased to be in the conversation for this year’s Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award.
“Obviously, it’s a pretty great feeling to even hear that my name has been out there, but I think it’s a testament to our program,” Adzija said. “If you look back at all the women who have won it, it’s not just talent, but they have been great people. The Patty Kaz is just a special award for an all-around person and player.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Photos courtesy of Rob Rasmussen.