No collegiate athletic conference, in any sport, can top the impressive list of national scale team accomplishments of the WCHA – on both the men's and women's sides. Since 1951, teams representing this Association have earned a record 37 men's national championships and since its founding for 1999-2000, women's WCHA-member teams have garnered a record 14 consecutive national championships. In addition, men's WCHA-member teams have finished as the national runner-up another 27 times.
The WCHA men's league has produced a record 16 Hobey Baker Memorial Award Winners – given annually to the top player in Division 1 college hockey, while the women's league is home to six Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners. The men's and women's WCHA swept the honors in 2012-13, with Drew LeBlanc of St. Cloud State winning the Hobey Baker and Amanda Kessel of Minnesota winning the Patty Kazmaier.
The league's official website, WCHA.com, is being relaunched with an all-new look for 2013-14, and includes the fully-functional WCHA.com/mobile site.
For more than 61 years on the men's side and 14 on the women's side, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association has stood at the top of the collegiate hockey world. And with it's great brand, rich tradition, well-documented history of success, dedicated and enthusiastic fans, top-notch programs and a 100% commitment to excellence across the board, this Association will continue to stand second to none.
Home of a record 14 consecutive national championship teams since its founding for the 1999-2000 season, the women's Western Collegiate Hockey Association is clearly second to none.
And perhaps no season to date can match the cumulative accomplishments of the league's member teams, players and coaches than the recently completed 2012-13 campaign. The Association again won the NCAA Women's Frozen Four as Minnesota completed a historic 41-0 season, the Golden Gophers' Amanda Kessel became the sixth WCHA player to win the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Trophy as college hockey's top player, Minnesota's Brad Frost was named the national coach of the years, seven conference players earned All-American honors and three teams were ranked among the top 10 in the final national polls.
2012-13 WCHA Women's Highlights
For the University of Minnesota, simply, it was a perfect season.
The Golden Gophers, who outscored their opponents 216 to 36 in 2012-13, became the first women's hockey team to ever post an unbeaten season, going 41-0-0 and winning their second straight National Collegiate Athletic Association title.
Minnesota won a second straight national championship with a 6-3 victory over Boston University before a roaring crowd at the Gophers' home rink, Ridder Arena in Minneapolis, on March 24. The victory extended the Gophers' NCAA record to 49 straight victories dating back to a 2-1 (ot) loss to North Dakota on Feb. 17, 2012. The 49 straight wins is better than twice as many as the 22 previous record holder Harvard had.
The Gophers' NCAA title was their fourth Frozen Four crown and the 14th straight for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. In the 13 years of NCAA-sponsored women's national championships, WCHA-member teams have won all 13 titles – Minnesota Duluth has five while Minnesota and Wisconsin each have four. Minnesota also won the first AWCHA Women's Division 1 title in 2000.
In going a perfect 41-0-0, Minnesota also became the first women's Division 1 team to finish a season unbeaten and only the second Division 1 college hockey team to do so. Cornell's 1970 men's team finished 29-0-0 en route to a national championship.
The Golden Gophers also swept individual end of the season awards. Amanda Kessel, the league's leading scorer, won the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, given to the top women's collegiate player. Her teammates Noora Räty and Megan Bozek were the other finalists. Kessel and Räty were named national co-Players of the Year by U.S. College Hockey Online, which also named Gophers' freshman forward Hannah Brandt as Rookie of the Year. Minnesota coach Brad Frost was named the National Coach of the Year by the American Hockey Coaches' Association and also by USCHO.com.
Kessel led the nation in scoring with 101 points (46g, 55a) to become only the fourth player in NCAA history to reach the century mark in a season. The junior forward played in 37 games and averaged 2.66 points per game. The Madison, Wis., native battled nagging injuries all season but finished with 28 multi-point games. She was also tagged WCHA Player of the Year and was named a First Team All-American.
Räty posted a perfect 38-0-0 record and broke a number of season and career NCAA records. The Finnish native completed her career with an NCAA record 114 wins. The senior goaltender broke the single and career shutouts records by tallying 17 this season and 43 in her four-year career. She had a goals-against average of 0.96 and a save percentage of .956, which also is a new NCAA record. Räty was also tagged the WCHA Goaltending Champion and named a First Team All-American.
Brandt, who was a Patty Kazmaier Top-10 Finalist, was second in the nation in scoring to only Kessel with 82 points (33g, 49a). The Hill-Murray High School graduate broke the Minnesota record for points by a freshman and was just shy of breaking Julie Chu's national record (93 points). She also fell short on breaking Chu's record for assists by a freshman (51). The freshman was named WCHA Rookie of the Year and received All-WCHA First Team honors.
"I don't know if you can draw up a better scenario," Frost said. "To go 41-0, and have the three best players in the country on this team, it's something I can't even put into words."
Frost orchestrated the Gophers to the first-ever perfect season in NCAA women's hockey history. After winning their final eight games to claim the 2012 National Championship, the sixth-year coach led his team to back-to-back titles and an NCAA record 49-game winning streak. He was also tagged WCHA Coach of the Year.
The Gophers got to the NCAA title game by beating Boston College in the semifinals and outlasting WCHA foe North Dakota 3-2 in three overtimes in the quarterfinals. Minnesota, the WCHA regular season champion, beat North Dakota to win the 2013 WCHA FINAL FACE-OFF at Ridder Arena.
In addition to the three aforementioned Gophers, the All-WCHA First Team included Wisconsin forward Brianna Decker, a senior from Dousman, Wis., who was the WCHA Player of the Year and Kazmaier Award winner last season. Decker compiled 20 goals, 18 assists and 38 points in league competition.
The All-WCHA First Team for 2012-13 also includes Minnesota defenseman Bozek, a senior from Buffalo Grove, Ill., and Monique Lamoureux, a senior from Grand Forks, N.D., who had 17 goals, 27 assists and 44 points. Bozek, like Decker, is a repeat selection on the all-league squad and it is the third straight season Decker has been honored. Bozek was also honored as the WCHA Defensive Player of the Year in a vote of the league's head coaches. She scored 14 goals, had 23 assists and 37 points in 28 league
North Dakota's Jocelyne Lamoureux, a senior from Grand Forks, N.D., was honored as the WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year for the second straight season. She is a graduate student and graduated with an outstanding grade-point average of 3.896 (4.0 scale), majoring in Physical Education, Exercise Science and Wellness, and has been on the Athletic Director's Honor Roll, the Dean's List and the President's Honor Roll at UND. She scored 22 goals, 34 assists and 54 points in league play this season and has been a WCHA Scholar-Athlete in 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 as well as a member of the All-WCHA Academic Team. Lamoureux is actively involved with service activities on campus and in the Grand Forks community, including reading to elementary students and Special Olympic events.
The second team included Jocelyne, Lamoureux's North Dakota teammate Michelle Karvinen, a junior from of Rodovre, Denmark who had 14 goals 21 assists and 35 points, and three Minnesota Duluth players – defensemen Brigette Lacquette, a sophomore from Mallard, Man., who had five goals, 14 assists and 19 points, Jessica Wong, a senior from Baddeck, Nova Scotia, who had seven goals,15 assists and 22 points, and forward Jenna McParland, a sophomore forward from Schreiber, Ont., who had 10 goals, 15 assists and 25 points. Wisconsin goaltender Alex Rigsby, a junior from Delafield, Wis., was the All-WCHA Second Team goalie. Rigsby had a 1.68 goals-against average and a .948 save percentage.
The All-WCHA Third Team for 2012-13 featured Minnesota State senior forward Lauren Smith, a senior from Burnsville, Minn., who had 17 goals, nine assists and 26 points; Kelly Terry, a Minnesota junior forward from Whitby, Ont., who scored five goals, had 19 assists and 24 points, and North Dakota forward Josefine Jakobsen, a sophomore from Aalborg, Denmark who had 11 goals, 15 assists and 26 points. The defensemen were Minnesota's Mira Jalosuo, a senior from Lieksa, Finland who had six goals, 13 assists and 19 points and Rachel Ramsey (28 gp, 8-15=23) of Chanhassen, Minn. Minnesota Duluth freshman goaltender Kayla Black of Blyth Ont., was the All-WCHA Third Team netminder after posting a league goals-against of 2.37 and a save percentage of .916.
Brandt joined Black on the All-WCHA Rookie Team with Minnesota's Maryanne Menefee and North Dakota forward Meghan Dufault, Wisconsin defenseman Courtney Burke and Minnesota defenseman Milica McMillen.
The WCHA also had seven players on the 2012-13 CCM All-American team. Named to the First Team from the WCHA were goaltender Noora Räty of Minnesota, defensemen Megan Bozek of Minnesota and Monique Lamoureux of North Dakota, and forwards Amanda Kessel of Minnesota and Jocelyne Lamoureux of UND. Selected to the All-American Second Team were goaltender Alex Rigsby of Wisconsin and forward Brianna Decker of Wisconsin. The CCM Hockey All-American Ice Hockey teams are sponsored by CCM Hockey and chosen by members of the American Hockey Coaches Association. First Team.
The WCHA also led the country in attendance for women's games in 2012-13. Minnesota drew 39,448 fans this season, for an average of 1,878 fans at Ridder while Wisconsin was second with 32,590 and an average of 1,811 per game. Minnesota Duluth (1,300 per game) was third in attendance.
The eight WCHA-member teams combined for an impressive 32-8-4 non-conference record in 2012-13 and a .772 winning percentage against other Division 1 opponents. WCHA teams went 8-4-4 vs. the Hockey East Association, 6-2-0 vs. ECAC Hockey and 18-2-0 vs. College Hockey America.
In the final USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Women's Division 1 College Hockey Poll issued on March 26, Minnesota was a unanimous No. 1, North Dakota was No. 5 and Wisconsin was No. 10.
And in the season's last USCHO.com Women's Division 1 College Hockey Poll released on March 25, Minnesota was No. 1, North Dakota was No. 6 and Wisconsin was No. 9.
In addition to their perfect 41-0-0 overall record, Minnesota became the record holder for 11 NCAA Division 1 team standards in 2012-13. Those were: best power play percentage (32.2%), fewest goals allowed (tied for 1st – 36), fewest goals allowed per game (tied for 1st – .88), best winning percentage (1.000), most wins (41), most home wins (23), most road wins (18), longest winning streak (49), longest unbeaten streak (49), longest home winning streak (27) and longest road winning streak (26).