HAMDEN, Conn. There have been many great mens and womens hockey players from Clarkson and St. Lawrence University over time, people who have become National Hockey League standouts and Olympians.
But until Saturday morning no one from either school had ever won their sports most prestigious individual award.
Clarkson senior Jamie Lee Rattray ended the drought by winning the Patty Kazmaier Award Saturday morning during a ceremony at the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, Conn.
Actually I had no idea about that until today, Rattray said, regarding no local winners. Im happy that someone from Clarkson has won it and hopefully there are many more to come in the future. Im proud to be part of the north country, thats for sure.
Rattray was one of three players who attended Saturdays breakfast wondering if they would win the award.
She has scored 28 goals with 36 assists for the Golden Knights in 40 games and helped lead Clarkson (30-5-5 overall) to its first national championship game. The Golden Knights face Minnesota (38-1-1) at 3 p.m. today for the championship.
One of the three finalists was Minnesota sophomore forward Hannah Brandt, who has 23 goals and 42 assists in 40 games. The other finalist was Cornells Jillian Saulnier, a friend of Rattrays who scored 28 goals with 28 assists in 34 games.
It was pretty crazy, actually, Rattray said of hearing her name announced. I wasnt expecting it. Im pretty honored to be in that group, especially with the nominees there. I know Jill really well and I met Hannah there and Ive seen her play. Im very honored to be the recipient of the award, thats for sure.
Rattray has always put her team first and said before Clarkson took its bus trip this weekend that she wanted to have them all with her at the ceremony.
I hope it helps (Clarkson), Rattray said. I hope it gets some good recruits through. The school speaks for itself, and the program already. It definitely could help. The program has definitely built from my freshman year, and Im excited to see where it goes from this. Being here at the Frozen Four and the national championship tomorrow definitely helps that as well.
It was just pure excitement, Clarkson co-coach Matt Desrosiers said of the award. Theres a lot of hard work thats gone in for her over hear career. Shes well-deserving. Shes definitely come along as a player and a person, outside of the game. You look at the list of the past winners and the majority are coming from larger schools and larger areas that might get a little bit more exposure. Its nice to see she was able to win something for the small schools.
Adding to Rattrays enjoyment Saturday was the chance to meet some womens hockey legends at the event.
I met (Wisconsins) Meghan Duggan and (Harvards) A.J. Mleczko and (Minnesotas) Amanda Kessel, and some girls I never met before, Rattray said. It was great to meet them and great to be in that presence. They all won the award before and they are Olympians and great athletes. When you meet some people like that its inspiring. I had a great time this morning.
Rattray is the first player from a local college to win either the Patty Kazmaier or Hobey Baker Award but the first Kazmaier winner in 1998 was Potsdam native Brandy Fisher, who played at the University of New Hampshire.
Someone let me know that, so its kind of cool bringing it back to the north country, Rattray said.