5 Finalists announced Feb. 17, winner announced at Feb. 26 banquet:
Article written by Bryan Zollman of Let’s Play Hockey:
Ten Semifinalists have been named for the coveted Ms. Hockey Award, presented by Let’s Play Hockey, the Minnesota Girls Hockey Coaches Association, and the Minnesota Wild.
The list will be narrowed to five finalists on Feb. 17 with the winner named on Sunday, Feb. 26 at the annual Ms. Hockey Banquet at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.
Players are nominated by their coaches and then voted on by a select committee of high school and college coaches in Minnesota.
The semifinalists are:
Rylee Bartz – Forward – Warroad
47 G – 38 A – 85 Points
Bartz currently leads the state in scoring with 85 points for the top-ranked Lady Warriors in Class A. She has recorded eight hat tricks and is one of three players with 80-plus points for Warroad (Talya Hendrickson and Kate Johnson).
“When I think of Rylee Bartz, I simply think exceptional,” said head coach David Marvin. “Rylee is kind, unselfish, positive, and athletic. She gives 100% as an athlete; she is focused and driven.”
Bartz will play next season at the University of St. Thomas.
Ella Boerger – Forward – Andover
38 G – 28 A – 66 Points
Boerger is the leading scorer on a Huskies squad that will look contend for another state championship after going undefeated last season. She recently notched a 10-point night against Northern Tier in the section playoffs. Boerger was named Team MVP last season as a member of the undefeated state champions that went 30-0 and beat Minnetonka 5-4 in the state final thriller. She notched 74 points as a junior. She has eclipsed 200 points in her career and is a two-time state champion. A two-year captain for the Huskies, Boerger will play college hockey at the University of St. Thomas.
“Ella is a two-year Captain at Andover which says huge things about her leadership and character,” said head coach Melissa Volk. “At Andover we pride ourselves on having good hockey players but even better people, and that is who she is. On the ice she is a mix between a power forward but with finesse and very good in our own end. She has been an instrumental part of our success these last four years in which she has won 2 state championships her freshman and junior seasons. Finally, I am very proud to have her represent our program in the community. Due to all the time she volunteers with our youth, she is loved and adored by all the little girls coming up in our program.”
Isa Goettl – Forward – Andover
21 G – 39 A – 60 Points
On a team loaded with talent, Isa Goettl stands out despite her small frame. Toughness, grit and talent are a solid mix for Goettl who will play collegiately at the University of Minnesota. Like Boerger she is a 4-year starter and a two-time state champion. She leads the Huskies with 39 helpers this season after a 56-point campaign last season where the Huskies went 30-0 to claim their second state title in three years.
“Isa is a tenacious and crafty forward that is well known to her opponents and is a fan favorite due to her style of play,” said head coach Melissa Volk. “She has been an instrumental part of our success these last four years in which she has won two state championships her freshman and junior seasons. Assistant captain last year and Captain this year her work ethic and unwavering gritty style of play is one for all our high school and youth players to look up to.”
Ellah Hause – Defense – Hill-Murray
17 G – 25 A – 42 Points
Hause is one of two defenseman to crack the top 10, and deservedly so. A top-tier defender, she can also play in the offensive zone as evidenced by her 42 points in 20 games. A member of Team USA’s U18 squad the competed in Sweden, Hause possesses great skill with a high hockey IQ that has helped her lead the Pioneers to a 21-3-1 record. A two-year captain for the Pioneers, she will play next season at the University of St. Thomas.
“As a coach for more than two decades, I can enthusiastically state that Ellah is one of the best I have had the privilege of coaching,” said head coach Shawn Reid. “Yes, her talent is great. But more importantly, she is unconditionally dependable and sees the world beyond herself. I am pleased to give her my highest recommendation.”
Josie Hemp – Defense – Minnetonka
7 G – 23 A – 30 Points
Hemp is a captain, leader and blueline stalwart for a Minnetonka squad that has maintained the top ranking in girls hockey for much of the year. On a team loaded with talent she is a at the top with a two-way game that includes the ability to shut down the team’s opposing best player, but also the ability to move the puck efficiently offensively. Any good team needs a player on the blue line that can shut down opponents and that is Josie Hemp for Minnetonka. Hemp will continue her playing career at the University of Minnesota.
“ She controls the hockey game with her poised puck possession, intelligent decision-making, team first play-making skills, and her talents to provide offense all while playing staunch defense,” said Minnetonka Head Coach Tracy Cassanno. “She logs more ice time on our team than any other player, and is often matched up against our opponents’ top lines. We rely on her to shut these players down night in and night out. She has incredible stamina and endurance; she never seems to get tired throughout even the toughest of games. She is extremely crafty with the puck, whether she is breaking the puck out of our zone, leading the rush up the ice, or running the top of the power play. Josie is a team Captain who leads with her competitive edge, passion for the game, inclusive attitude towards all of her teammates, and a mentality of doing whatever it takes to help her team win.”
Suzy Higuchi – Forward – Blake
32 G – 33 A – 65 Points
Higuchi is the latest in a long line of great Blake players which includes three former Ms. Hockey winners (Katharine Chute 2007, Dani Cameranisi 2013, Madeline Wethington 2019). A skilled forward who can both score and dish, Higuchi has helped lead Blake to the top seed in their section as they compete for a state tournament berth. Born in Saitama, Japan, Higuchi qualifies to play for Team Japan, so you may see her donning her native country’s Olympic jersey in the years to come. She will play collegiately at Yale University.
“I often times refer to Suzy as a magician. Her hand eye coordination, her hands, they’re unbelievable,” said Blake Head Coach Kristi King. “Often times Suzy leaves everyone with a jaw drop reaction. The plays Suzy makes are above and beyond the high school level. Suzy makes everyone around her better with her high hockey IQ and her work ethic. She also makes everyone around her better with how she leads by example and gives to the community.”
Ava Lindsay – Forward – Minnetonka
20 G – 15 A – 35 PTS
Lindsay is the top goal scorer on the top team in the state. A member of Team USA’s U18 squad, she has three state titles to her credit while playing at Breck before transferring to Minnetonka. Last season she led the Skippers with 57 points, as they came one win short of a state title. A three-time All-State recipient and 4-time all-conference player, Lindsay will play collegiately at the University of Minnesota.
“Ava Lindsay is the most dynamic and electric hockey player in the State,” said head coach Tracy Cassano. “She creates highlight reel plays with her puck possession better than any other player. Her hockey IQ, vision, puck skills, smooth skating edgework, and offensive talents make her one of the most feared forwards to play against. She is a remarkable talent and exceptionally fun to coach. She is a two-way player with a refuse to lose mentality. She is an unselfish player who makes the right plays, at the right time, for the right reasons. Ava is a team captain for the Skippers. She is truly humble and leads by example through her incredible work ethic, upbeat attitude, and calm demeanor on a daily basis. She is always the first player to compliment her teammates and she makes everyone around her a better hockey player and person. Ava is loved and well respected by her teammates and opponents. She has earned the right to represent our country in the U18 Worlds Tournament as a member of the USA Women’s team the past two seasons. Ava is an all-around MVP player and teammate.”
Lauren O’Hara – Forward – Centennial/Spring Lake Park
31 G – 17 A – 48 Points
O’Hara has a rare combination of size and skill. The 5’11” forward has led Centennial/Spring Lake Park to a top-10 ranking all season. She has 31 goals in 25 games and is coming off a 51-points season as a junior. She is a three-time Team MVP and will play next season at the University of Minnesota.
“Lauren has helped build a legacy at Centennial that will last many years.,” said head coach Sean Molin. “She was instrumental as a leader in changing the culture into a positive, winning one. She is adored by her teammates, and she is always the hardest worker on the ice. She stayed home, didn’t join one of the super teams, and was still able to achieve her goals. She is a perfect example of what a top girls hockey player in Minnesota should be. Others may have better stats due to the situations on their teams, or the competition they have faced, but none will likely have done more for their community and girls hockey in Minnesota than Lauren.”
Stella Retrum – Forward – Maple Grove
25 G – 30 A – 55 Points
Stella Retrum posseses every skill a hockey player needs – strong skater, good hands, ability to score, make plays and a good leader in the room.
She had a huge junior season where she scored 61 points, leading the Crimson to the state tournament. She has been to three state tournaments and is looking at potentially playing in her fourth.
She will continue her hockey career at Penn State University next season.
“Stella has been an unbelievable leader and captain to the Maple Grove Program for the two years I have been back. Stella is that special leader who leads not only by having a voice in the locker room but also by example on and off the ice. Stella is one of the most dedicated hockey players I have ever been around who does all the extras outside of her team practices to try and perfect her craft, and gain any edge she can (working with stickhandling and shooting coaches year-round , skating coach on Fridays at 6am for six years, lifting with the team and at local training facilities). If you want to know what it takes to be a D1 hockey player watch what Stella does and all while being one of the most team orientated players I have ever coached. She is all about team successes first.”
Kamryn Van Batavia – Forward – Luverne
55 G – 18 A – 73 Points
Kamryn is closing in on potentially becoming the all-time leading scorer in girls high school hockey history. That is quite an accomplishment. Last year, as a junior, she racked up 127 points. This season she leads the state with 55 goals. Currently she has 444 career points, ranking third behind Nicole Schammel (Red Wing, 457) and Natalie Darwitz (Eagan, 468).
She is committed to Minnesota State-Mankato.
“Kamryn loves the game of hockey. Her shot, strength, speed, knack for the puck, and constant motor all contribute to her dominance throughout her varsity career,” said head coach Tony Sandbulte. “Kamryn’s been a team Captain for the last two years. She leads with her unmatchable work ethic and she always rises up in times of need. Kamryn is a game-changer and has carried her team to three consecutive state tournaments. Kamryn is respected in our locker room, rink, and the Luverne community for not only being one of the best hockey players the state has to offer, but she’s a great person as well.”
The winner of the Ms. Hockey Award will be announced Feb. 26 at the Ms. Hockey Banquet. The banquet will be held at 11 a.m. with doors open at 10:00 a.m.
For ticket information contact Bryan Zollman at 320-333-3279 or firstname.lastname@example.org.