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 2019 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner will be announced on March 23 in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Frozen Four in Hamden, Conn.
Boston College standout Megan Keller is one of the top women’s defenders in the world.
And for the third time, Keller is in the conversation for the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Award, presented annually to the top women’s college hockey player in the nation. But Keller admits she wouldn’t be where she is in her career without the help of her teammates and coaches.
“It’s a huge honor, and a lot of great players have been in the talk for that award,” Keller said. “It wouldn’t be possible without great teammates. Each player that ever won, they’ve been surrounded by great players, coaches and great people that get them there, and that’s definitely a big part of it.”
Keller first appeared as a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award during the 2015-16 season as a sophomore when she set the single-season program record for points by a defenseman, tallying 12 goals and 52 points.
That season, she was the first defenseman in program history to collect at least 50 points, led the nation in plus/minus with a plus-64 — also a program record — and ranked ninth nationally among all skaters in points.
Keller was also a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award as a junior, and the first-ever defenseman to earn the Cammi Granato Award as the Hockey East Player of the Year. She led all defenders in scoring for the second straight year with 10 goals and 39 points.
“Over my four years at Boston College, I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of some great teams and have the opportunity to be coached by some of the best in the world,” Keller said. “I don’t ever want to take those moments for granted, and I definitely have a big appreciation for my teammates and coaches.”
Keller, a native of Farmington Hills, Michigan, also appreciates being in the mix for the annual Patty Kazmaier Award.
“The way Patty Kazmaier represented women’s ice hockey, what she did for our sport and the names that continue to represent her along the way, it has definitely allowed the game to grow for us,” Keller said. “Hopefully, we continue to inspire younger generations.”
Keller did just that during the 2017-18 academic year when she took a leave of absence from Boston College to live in the Tampa, Florida, area and train with the U.S. Women’s National Team.
Keller helped the U.S. capture a gold medal during the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. She led all players in shifts, was second in ice time and tied for the team lead with a plus-5 rating.
“It was pretty amazing,” Keller said. “A lot of these girls have been around forever. Some of them, it was their third Olympics and they really led the way. To be able to bring home a gold medal with those girls and hopefully inspire the next generation like the ’98 team did for all of us is pretty special.”
Keller most appreciated the outreach, support and number of lives the experience affected.
“By far the best part is when you see little kids around the rink,” Keller said. “Those are the girls that are going to continue to grow our sport and the game.”
For now, Keller is helping to grow the game at Boston College. She owns the Hockey East single-season and career points, goals and assists records for a defender. Keller, the sixth player in program history to score 150 points, established a new career high with 17 goals and 39 points through 30 games, good for 11th in the nation, but tops among all defenders. She was the fifth in program history to reach 100 assists earlier in the year.
“It’s pretty awesome, but the thing that’s so special is that all of those points or records are definitely not possible without any of my teammates,” Keller said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to play and learn from great players. They’re the reason why I’m able to do that, and even though it’s individual, it definitely doesn’t come without being part of a team and I’m forever grateful for that.”
Keller, the Hockey East Player of the Month for January and the league’s most recent Defensive Player of the Week, ranks top 15 among all skaters in goals, assists, power-play points, game-winning goals and points per game.
Keller said she doesn’t pay much attention to her records and individual accomplishments. For now, the standout senior is focused on a strong finish to her career with her teammates at Boston College.
“When I find out [about records], it’s usually from my teammates, which is pretty cool because they’re excited,” Keller said. “My senior year came quickly and I don’t ever want to take a moment for granted. I’ve been fortunate to be part of four great teams here, and having great teammates and coaches, it’s easy to succeed. There’s not much individually that I want to accomplish. I want to push this program further than it’s ever been and do everything in our power to leave our mark on Boston College hockey.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc. Photo courtesy of John Quackenbos/BC Athletics.