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.
Northeastern standout defenseman Skylar Fontaine picked up right where she left off last season.
Fontaine, for the second straight year, has been named a top-10 finalist for the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Award, presented annually to the top women’s college hockey player in the nation.
“It’s such an honor,” Fontaine said. “Coming into my fifth year, I really wanted to enjoy it, have fun with my teammates and take everything in. I’m grateful and it’s very exciting to be named to the top 10 again along with nine other great players in the country.”
Fontaine has familiar company, as she’s joined by teammates Aerin Frankel and Alina Mueller, who are also in the running for the award for the second consecutive season. Last season, they were the first-ever trio to make the top 10 in program history and Frankel became the third Northeastern women’s player — and first since 2016 — to win the award.
It was also a special moment for Fontaine, as the two were together at the U.S. women’s national team evaluation camp during that time.
“It was actually pretty cool because I got to be with her when it was announced,” Fontaine said. “It was a great feeling to be able to be there and celebrate with her and enjoy that because it’s a pretty great accomplishment. I think it made it more special because she was given the award while we were at camp with the best players in the country for Team USA. It was awesome to be together and I was happy to see my teammate and friend win.”
Fontaine, a graduate student from East Greenwich, Rhode Island, is Hockey East’s top defender for the third consecutive season. She has a career-best 41 assists, which also leads the nation and is one from tying the single-season program record.
“Skylar is the most dynamic defenseman in the NCAA,” Northeastern coach Dave Flint said. “She creates countless offensive chances for our team per game and shuts down just as many defensively. Skylar’s skating ability and skillset are unmatched. She can beat everyone to the offensive net and then beat everyone back to our net.”
Fontaine is the top defenseman in program history with 55 goals and 170 points in 177 games played. She passed Donna-Lynn Rosa for the top spot, as she finished a standout career, which ran from 1985-1989, with 121 points. Fontaine ranks seventh in Northeastern scoring history along with third in assists and game-winning goals.
“I don’t even know those things are happening until they happen, but it’s so amazing,” Fontaine said. “[Rosa] reached out and she tweeted me, she congratulated me. It was such an honor and I was so excited. It took a lot of hard work, but it’s awesome and pretty cool to finish my college career like this.”
Fontaine helped Northeastern reach the national championship game last season and win the program’s fifth consecutive Hockey East title earlier this month. Fontaine admitted to feeling pressure early in the current season based on expectations from last year, but then she settled and helped the Huskies back to the NCAA tournament.
“At first we wanted to get right back there, but you kind of have to slow down and realize that you have a whole season ahead of you,” Fontaine said. “Once we did that, we came together as a team.”
Flint has seen Fontaine’s maturation throughout her five seasons at Northeastern.
“Skylar’s game has developed tremendously during her time in college hockey,” Flint said. “She is a complete hockey player who wants the big moment and thrives in it.”
Fontaine also thrives in the classroom along with volunteer efforts in the Special Olympics, an animal shelter, a local elementary school and coaching. She graduated with a major in criminal justice and criminology and a minor in health science. Fontaine is working towards her master’s degree in international relations and global studies and is expected to finish in August.
“I’m kind of keeping my options open right now, but I’m excited for a new adventure,” Fontaine said. “I’m ready to grow in a new area. Right now, I’m kind of leaning towards playing in Europe because it’s been one of my dreams to travel and see the world. What better way to do it than getting to play the sport that I love? We’ll see what happens.”
As for her career at Northeastern, Fontaine will go down as the top defenseman in program history and one of the best in the country during her time in the NCAA.
“I wouldn’t be able to be where I am without my coaches and my teammates,” Fontaine said. “I am beyond grateful and thankful for them and I am honored to be named to the top 10 for the Patty Kazmaier Award again.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.