Ann-Renée Desbiens becomes fifth Wisconsin player to earn top college hockey award

Ann-Renée Desbiens was announced as the winner of the Patty Kazmaier Award Saturday after leading the NCAA in shutouts. 

Image By: Kaitlyn Veto

ST. CHARLES, Mo.—A year after rewriting the NCAA record books, Wisconsin’s senior goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens became the third netminder to win women’s collegiate hockey’s most prestigious award.

Desbiens was announced as the winner of the Patty Kazmaier Award Saturday, in her second year as a top-three finalist. The senior from La Malbaie, Quebec, joined former Badgers Sara Bauer, Jessie Vetter, Meghan Duggan and Brianna Decker as the fifth Wisconsin player to win the Kazmaier.

The other two finalists were Clarkson forward Cayley Mercer and Minnesota-Duluth forward and occasional defenseman Lara Stalder, who beat out Desbiens for WCHA Player of the Year and Student Athlete of the Year.

In a long and emotional acceptance speech, Desbiens thanked numerous people who had helped her throughout her career, including Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Medicine Dennis Helwig, who helped her recover from two injuries this season.

The senior netminder also reflected on her journey from a french-speaking teenager playing boys hockey to the recipient of women’s college hockey’s highest honor.

“There’s a lot of things that have fallen into place. I wasn’t planning on coming to the NCAA and then I ended up coming late. It’s probably one of the pretty good decisions I made, especially picking Wisconsin,” Desbiens said. “It’s a great school, great program, coaching staff, athletic trainer because I know I wouldn’t have played so many games without him this year. It’s definitely fun to have this support.”

The Badgers entered Saturday’s ceremony in a different position than years past, having won Friday’s semifinal and still with a game to play Sunday.

“It definitely made this tournament a little more enjoyable,” Desbiens said. “It’s a lot of fun knowing I’ll get to play one more game. Especially as a senior, one more game means a lot.”

Minutes after receiving the award, the Quebec native had already turned her attention to the the final achievement missing in her record-setting career.

“I do want to cry tomorrow but I want to cry of happiness. I want to win,” Desbiens said.

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