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.
Boston College standout forward Daryl Watts never expected to be in the conversation for the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Award, especially as a freshman.
But Watts spent her first season of college hockey rewriting the record books. So not only is Watts in the conversation, she was announced as one of the three finalists for the prestigious award, presented annually to the top women’s college hockey player in the nation.
“I didn’t really have any expectations for myself coming into college hockey,” Watts said. “I was just so excited to start playing with the team and things just started to click really early. From there, it just took off. It has been a really fun experience.”
The Patty Kazmaier Award will be presented March 17 at the McNamara Alumni Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota, in conjunction with the Women’s Frozen Four, taking place the same weekend at the home of the Golden Gophers. Boston University senior forward Victoria Bach and Clarkson junior forward Loren Gabel join Watts as finalists for the award.
“It’s the top recognition in women’s college hockey and it’s such a special award,” Watts said. “It’s the greatest individual honor you can win in women’s college hockey, so it’s pretty unreal and an unbelievable recognition.”
Watts is just the third freshman ever to be announced as a top three finalist, joining Mercyhurst forward Meghan Agosta in 2007 and Minnesota goaltender Noora Raty in 2010.
Watt is just the fourth player in Boston College women’s hockey history to be named a top three finalist. Kelli Stack was the program’s first in 2011, while Alex Carpenter followed in 2015, the year she won the award, and again in 2016, when she was the runner-up.
Watts is enjoying not only one of the best seasons ever by a freshman, but one of the best by any player.
The 18-year-old from Toronto, Ontario, is the nation’s leading scorer with 82 points, the highest point total ever in an Olympic year since the 2000-01 season. It equals the second-highest freshman point total, behind Harvard’s Julie Chu in 2002-03 and tied with Hannah Brandt of Minnesota in 2012-13.
Watts’ 42 goals are tied for the NCAA freshman record, with Chu and Wisconsin’s Megan Hunter in 2000-01. Watts also has the second-highest, single-season point total in Boston College history. She is one goal and six points behind Carpenter’s single-season records of 43 goals and 88 points, established in the 2015-16 season.
Watts posted just the seventh 40-goal, 40-assist season in NCAA play, the first in an Olympic year and just the third in the last 13 seasons. She has had points in 35 of 37 games, 25 games with multiple points and 11 multi-goal games.
Watts admitted she hasn’t had a chance to reflect on her accomplishments to this point.
“I think it’s kind of cool, but overall I don’t really focus on records or individual statistics like that,” Watts said. “This season has been crazy so far, when I’m older and I look back, I would definitely be proud, but at the end of the day, I’m so focused on winning the national championship and helping my team win that it’s the only thing I care about right now.”
Her production has helped Boston College reach the NCAA Tournament for the 10th time. Watts ranks among the leaders in almost every offensive category nationally.
“It’s pretty cool,” Watts said. “I never really expected to lead in so many categories, but I think the most important thing is being part of the success I’m having on my team.”
Watts credits her teammates and coaches for helping her transition to college hockey. Watts said the strength of the players at this level and speed of the college game was faster than anything she previously experienced. But she was able to adjust while practicing with her teammates several weeks before the start of the season.
A bond with teammate Caitrin Lonergan and a hat trick in the third game of the season against Minnesota-Duluth helped Watts settle.
“Caitrin and I, right from the beginning, we had so much chemistry,” Watts said. “It was really fun in practice, and when I scored my hat trick against Minnesota-Duluth, I thought we had great chemistry and we could do some really great things.”
That continued through the regular season, the Beanpot, Hockey East tournament and into the NCAA tournament. Watts tied the Hockey East single-season conference records for goals (30) and points with 55. Those were marks originally established by Northeastern’s Kendall Coyne during her Patty Kazmaier-winning 2015-16 season.
Watts also set the Hockey East freshman points, goals and assists records, in addition to Boston College freshman points, goals and assists marks. Some of those records were held or shared by current and former Olympians and past Patty Kazmaier Award winners.
Watts has an opportunity to join the latter group later this month.
“To be mentioned with those great names is so cool and such an honor,” Watts said. “Most of them are my idols and players I grew up idolizing, so just to be mentioned along with them is really cool. I’m just really humbled to be mentioned with them.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.