WALLINGFORD, Conn. – Clarkson senior forward Jamie Lee Rattray was named Friday as the 2014 recipient of the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, bestowed annually upon college hockey’s top female player.
Rattray is the first Golden Knight to win the Kazmaier Award. This is the 11th time that a player from an east-coast school won it, but only the first since 2010 when Mercyhurst forward Vicki Bendus came away with the honor.
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Going into Clarkson’s national championship game Saturday against top-ranked Minnesota, Rattray is second in the country in points with 64, having amassed 28 goals and 36 assists in 40 games. Two of those helpers came Friday in Clarkson’s 5-1 national semifinal win against Mercyhurst.
Also among the top three finalists for the award were Minnesota forward Hannah Brandt – who is currently edging Rattray in points with 65 – and Cornell forward Jillian Saulnier.
Although the award’s only given to one player, Rattray said she views it just as much as a team award as an individual one.
“Obviously hockey’s a team game,” Rattray said, “And I definitely have some of the best teammates and some great, hard-working teammates.
“I owe a lot to them because, every day coming to the rink, they’re making me better.”
Clarkson co-head coach Matt Desrosiers, who splits that duty with wife Shannon, echoed Rattray’s sentiments.
“I’m sure Jamie Lee will give a lot of credit to her teammates for pushing her hard every day in practice and off the ice in the weight room and everything she does,” Matt Desrosiers said, “And they just bring great attitudes to the rink. That makes it a lot easier for everyone to perform on a daily basis.
“She’s a student of the game,” Desrosiers continued, talking now about Rattray’s own approach to hockey. “She comes to the rink every day wanting to get better, and she works hard in everything she does, whether it’s a warm-up drill or working on (the team’s on-ice) systems and that.
“She wants to give everything she has every day to improve, and it rubs off on her teammates, and that’s how she’s such a great leader for us.”
Rattray had previously been named this season’s ECAC Hockey women’s player of the year and was a first-team All-ECAC Hockey selection. She was also named ECAC Hockey’s player of the month three times this season all in a row between November and January.
She leads the nation in power-play goals with nine and has 20 multi-point games so far this season, good for one out of every two Clarkson’s taken part in. Rattray now holds the Knights’ school single-season and career records for both goals and points, and she also hosts Clarkson’s single-season record for assists.
Desrosiers said that, back when Rattray was being recruited to Clarkson, he saw the potential for Rattray to eventually earn women’s college hockey’s top individual honor.
“You could see this potential in her before she made it to the college level,” Desrosiers said. “She was a pretty dominant player at the level she came from, and there were certain areas of her game she needed to improve upon, and she knew that.
“I think that’s one of the reasons she chose Clarkson: She knew Shannon and I would push her to get better in those areas, and she’s done a great job knowing she needs to improve in those areas and work hard in those areas and improve her total all-around game.”
Rattray and Clarkson’s other six seniors have indeed come a long way in their time at the Potsdam, N.Y. university, and Rattray took time Saturday to reflect on just how much the program has grown since Rattray, a Kanata, Ontario native first arrived there.
“I really think it’s [down to] hard work,” Rattray said. “You look at the way Matt and Shannon run that program and it’s all about hard work and dedication to the program, and I think, especially our class as seniors, we’ve seen [Clarkson’s program] grow, and it’s awesome to see how hard work comes together, and to see us here at the Frozen Four is pretty amazing.”
As for her team’s approach to Sunday’s national title game, though, Rattray said besting Mercyhurst in the teams’ semifinals and then winning the Kazmaier Award Saturday provides a boost for both her and her team.
“The focus on Thursday was to get ready for the game Friday, and then when you wake up [Friday], you can focus on this for a bit and then, as soon as we leave, it’s time to focus on tomorrow,” Rattray said.
“Winning last night definitely helped with getting up this morning, because if we’d lost, it would’ve been harder. I think, going into tomorrow, we’re focused as a team, and I think we’re ready and we’re going to play our best, and it’s our first time here so we’re going for it.”