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 2023 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner will be announced on March 18 in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Frozen Four in Duluth, Minnesota.
The top-three finalists are expected to be announced on Wednesday, March 8.
Numbers don’t tell the entire story, but the ones posted this season by Danielle Serdachny of Colgate University certainly deserve examining.
Through 39 games, Serdachny led the NCAA with 70 points on 25 goals and a Division I-best 45 assists. The senior forward from Edmonton, Alberta, also ranked second in the NCAA with 1.79 points per game and six game-winning goals.
That performance earned the senior captain a spot among the 10 finalists for this year’s Patty Kazmaier Award. She would be the first Colgate skater to win the award.
“It’s a pretty cool honor when you think about it,” Serdachny said. “There’s lots of great, talented players across NCAA and also across all of North America, so it’s a pretty cool accomplishment.”
Serdachny won’t give all the credit to herself, however.
“Any individual recognition I have gotten is because of [my teammates] and the supportive coaching staff we have,” she said. “We’re all kind of in it together, so that has been huge these past four years.”
Together, the Raiders have won three straight ECAC championships in Serdachny’s sophomore through senior seasons. In the 8-2 win over Clarkson in the tournament final on March 4, she tallied three points for fourth-ranked Colgate.
That left the Raiders with a 32-5-2 record this season heading into the NCAA tournament. Colgate, the No. 3 seed, will face the winner of the first-round game between Wisconsin and LIU in the quarterfinals on March 11.
“I think our group this year has a larger goal in mind and that’s specifically making the Frozen Four and then eventually winning a national championship, which we haven’t accomplished yet,” she said. “So, I still kind of have those goals in mind.”
“We’re just excited for the challenge and excited for what we hope to be is a long playoff run here in the NCAA.”
Serdachny won her second ECAC Player of the Year award in three seasons. In 2020-21, she became Colgate’s first All-American in the Division I era.
Off the ice, Serdachny has been a three-time ECAC All-Academic Team member, and she is active as a volunteer in the community.
"Danielle’s impact on our program extends far beyond her skills on the ice,” said Colgate coach Greg Fargo. “She has helped raise the bar for our team and demonstrated the importance of sportsmanship and service in everything she does.”
"Danielle's love for the game is evident in her dominant performance this season. Her continued evolution as a player has been on full display, particularly in the biggest moments, where she consistently delivers for her team.”
As always, Serdachny prepared for this season with the help of her father, Steve Serdachny, a former skating/skills coach for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.
“I’m fortunate enough to have my dad,” she said. “I have three siblings, so we all have played hockey growing up. So just having access to training and obviously a great insight from him has been awesome to have for the past 21 years.”
Serdachny has worked on shooting, quick-release shooting, and foot speed, among other things.
“Kind of mixed it up this summer,” she said. “The one focus would be shooting, but it was pretty much a combination of a bunch of things.”
So far, all of the hard work has paid off this season, as Colgate attempts to atone for the 2021-22 campaign, which ended with a 2-1 overtime loss to Yale in the NCAA tournament regional final. Ironically, the Raiders had beaten the Bulldogs in the ECAC championship game in overtime by the same score the previous weekend.
“Any time you’re a senior captain, people look up to you more than previous years, so definitely a bit of added pressure there,” Serdachny said. “But I also think pressure can be a good thing, too.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.