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Kaz Watch: Sophie Jaques’ Offensive Explosion Leads to Kaz Nomination

03/14/2022, 1:55pm MDT
By Bob Reinert

Jaques is looking to become the second defender to ever win the award.

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 2022 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner presentation is scheduled for Saturday, March 26.

Should Sophie Jaques succeed in winning the 2022 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award as the nation’s top Division I women’s college hockey player, she would find herself in rarefied circles.

Jaques, a senior from Toronto, Ontario, would become the first Ohio State University player to win in the award’s 25-year history. She would also be only the second defender to receive the award. Angela Ruggiero of Harvard University was the first in 2004.

“I would be honored to become the first Ohio State player to ever win the award,” Jaques said. “I’m just grateful and thankful for the alumni that have played at Ohio State and helped grow the program to where it is today, and I wouldn’t be in the spot that I am without them and … all my current and former teammates for helping me get there.

“It would be really cool to win as a defender. I think a lot of my offense is generated from good defensive plays, and I’ve just had great teammates alongside me all year that I can move the puck up to, and I think that’s really helped our offense.”

Jaques was among national scoring leaders with 59 points on 21 goals and 38 assists for the top-ranked Buckeyes, who won their second WCHA championship in program history.

“That, to me, says a lot because when she’s on the ice, we score,” said Ohio State coach Nadine Muzerall. “When she’s on the ice, the other team does not score.”

Jaques was named WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. She scored the tying and winning goals in the 3-2 overtime victory over Minnesota in the WCHA championship game.

“Usually, that comes from your forwards, not from your defenders,” Muzerall said. “When we want the puck on somebody’s stick in moments like that, it’s Sophie Jaques. We’ve designed our power play around her.

“When you’re thinking an elite player, I think something that’s very important is are they clutch? Do they disappear in the big games? Do they show up?”

Muzerall added that she didn’t recruit Jaques for her point production.

“It was to stop the puck and be a big defensive threat, have a strong plus-minus, and maybe help out on the power play,” Muzerall said.

About The Award

According to Muzerall, Jaques plays with remarkable composure.

“I think the biggest thing that separates Sophie that I haven’t really seen is her composed temperament,” Muzerall said. “She’s like a cool assassin. You just don’t see her coming.

“She’s like a freight train. Good luck trying to slow her down. She also, I don’t think, gets as much credit defensively as she should. She’s a 200-foot hockey player.”

Coming off a junior season where she tallied four points in 20 games, Jaques never expected to be among the Kazmaier Award finalists this season.

“Honestly, if you had told me at the start of the year that I’d be in the position I’m in, I would have never believed you,” Jaques said. “I’m just surprised to be in the top 10. It is beyond expectation for what I could have set as my goals for this year, and it’s just been really fun.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my teammates, and they’ve supported me all year. So, I’d just be grateful to win it but very thankful for all my teammates and coaches.

“We started off the year with a lot of bonding. We had a lot of new players come in, but everyone got along great, and we got close really fast.”

Jaques is just as impressive off the ice as she is on it. She carries a 3.7 GPA in civil engineering, is a teaching assistant in that department, and is active in the community.

“In terms of the community, she’s done a lot for ‘2nd and 7,’” Muzerall said. “It’s this reading program that our team is heavily involved with that reads to the inner-city kids in Columbus. Sophie’s given back to those kids of color, her being a Black woman, as well.

“She’s been a good face for these young kids that don’t see people of color playing hockey. She’s been an amazing representative and a role model. She is tomorrow’s leader just because of who she is as a human being and how she gives back and thinks of others.”

Jaques conceded that her schedule is rather full these days.

“I do have a lot going on,” Jaques said. “I feel like I’ve done a good job of time managing everything, so I don’t get too stressed, but between school, working and then practice, it is a lot. But I do enjoy all of it, and I wouldn’t change anything.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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