BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Feb. 25, 2021 – Four of the top players in the Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association are among the Top-10 finalists for the 2021 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award announced today by the USA Hockey Foundation.
Ohio State senior Emma Maltais, Minnesota senior Grace Zumwinkle and a pair of Wisconsin Badgers – senior Daryl Watts and junior Sophie Shirley – are among the 10 candidates for the top honor in women's collegiate hockey.
With this year's selections, the WCHA has had at least two players named to the Top-10 finalists list in all 22 years of the league's existence. The four selections this year marks the 16th time in 22 seasons that four or more WCHA players have been honored as Top-10 finalists, including a high of six selections in both 2012 and 2013.
Maltais leads the WCHA in shots on goal per game at 6.12 and faceoff win percentage at .698 while registering 11 points on three goals and eight assists this season. Her 98 shots on goal ranks second in the WCHA and the NCAA. The Burlington, Ont., native was recognized as the WCHA Forward of the Week on Feb. 2 following her five-point weekend against then-No. 2/2 Minnesota.
Shirley is the WCHA's No. 3 scorer with 21 points on nine goals and 12 assists. Her goal and assist totals are tied for third in the WCHA while her points per game average (1.50) is second in the league and tied for sixth in the country. The Saskatoon, Sask., earned WCHA Forward of the Week honors on Dec. 1 after reaching the 100-point and 50-goal career marks in back-to-back games at then-No. 4/4 Ohio State.
Watts, the 2018 Patty Kazmaier winner as a freshman at Boston College, leads the WCHA and ranks second in NCAA with 27 points on 13 goals and a WCHA-leading 14 assists. Her goals per game (0.93), assists per game (1.00) and points per game (1.93) also lead the league. The Toronto, Ont., native has been chosen the league's Forward of the Week three times this season and was the WCHA Forward of the Month and HCA National Player of the Month in January.
Zumwinkle has registered 23 points on a WCHA-leading 16 goals and seven assists this season to rank No. 2 in the league and fifth nationally in scoring. The Excelsior, Minn., native also leads the WCHA in game-winning goals with four and shots on goal with 103, which leads the nation. Zumwinkle has been tabbed the WCHA Forward of the Week twice this season and was the league's Forward of the Month in November.
Three finalists for the 2021 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award will be announced on March 18, with the winner being revealed on March 27.
About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Women's League
The Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association is marking its 22nd season in 2020-21. The nation's premier women's hockey conference, WCHA member institutions have won a record 17 national championships since the league's inception in 1999 (including 16 of a possible 19 NCAA titles), while producing seven Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners, 105 All-Americans and numerous Olympic and national team members. The seven-team, NCAA Division I conference consists of: Bemidji State University (Beavers), the University of Minnesota (Golden Gophers), the University of Minnesota Duluth (Bulldogs), Minnesota State University (Mavericks), The Ohio State University (Buckeyes), St. Cloud State University (Huskies) and the University of Wisconsin (Badgers). The WCHA will grow to eight members with the addition of the University of St. Thomas (Tommies) beginning with the 2021-22 season. For more information, visit wcha.com.