As March 2014 has resulted in a memorable and historic month for NCAA women’s hockey, it has the influence of Jamie Lee Rattray all over it. It was only fitting that it would turn out that way because her influence throughout the 2013-14 campaign contributed to the greatest season in Clarkson history.
Numerous milestones in program history were reached for the first-time ever. Not only did Rattray capture her first NCAA scoring title with 66 points (29 goals, 37 assists), but she would help the Golden Knights to their first-ever 30 win season, completed by its first ECAC Hockey regular season championship.
The momentum would carry on into the postseason as the program not only qualified for its first-ever Frozen Four, it would upset the top-ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers to become the first non-WCHA team to win a national title.
Becoming the first Canadian since Vicki Bendus four years ago to grab the prestigious Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, she was also Clarkson’s first-ever recipient of the award. This was complemented by earning the ECAC Player of the Year Award and the USCHO.com Player of the Year Award, respectively.
Of note, winning the Kazmaier would help Rattray provide a unique chapter to Canadian female sporting history. As the first Canadian of Aboriginal heritage to have the honor of the Kazmaier bestowed upon her, she is following in the proud legacy of other Aboriginal female hockey players such as Leah Sulyma and Megan Big Snake.
It was testament to her abilities as a game changer and positive influence in shaping Clarkson’s culture into one of winning. Since arriving at Clarkson in 2010, she would emerge as the greatest player to have donned the green and gold jersey.
Heading into her senior season, she started on a great note with a three point output on September 28 against the Rochester Institute of Technology Tigers.
Of note, RIT would have another impact during her memorable senior season. On December 14, the green and gold participated in an outdoor game vs. RIT, with Rattray logging a goal.
Statistically, her only hat trick came on January 24, 2014 against Colgate, while she managed to post five-point performances in a game on two separate occasions. A November 22 contest against Princeton resulted in a five-point night on the strength of 1 assists with one goal. She would duplicate the same offensive output on January 31 in a road win at Union.
Recognized as the Most Valuable Player of the NCAA Frozen Four, Rattray was a key contributor during the NCAA tournament. She logged seven points during said tournament, including three assists in a 3-1 quarterfinal win against the Boston College Eagles. Of note, it was the first NCAA Tournament victory for the Golden Knights.
Although nine different Clarkson players registered at least one point in the 5-4 victory against Minnesota in the NCAA Frozen Four, Rattray contributed at key times in the contest. A power play tally in the second stanza provided Clarkson with a 3-1 advantage. Assisting on Vanessa Plante’s goal in the third period helped to break a 3-3 tie. While Shannon MacAulay logged the game winning tally, Rattray’s recognition as Tournament MVP was a fitting finish to a storied career with Clarkson.
The historic Frozen Four triumph did provide a unique bit of irony for Rattray. One of her teammates on the green and gold was Erin Ambrose, the co-winner of the 2014 ECAC Defensive Player of the Year Award. Of note, the two suited up for Canada in a gold medal effort at the 2010 IIHF Under-18 Women’s World Championships. The two would even be featured on trading cards issued by Upper Deck in their 2011 World of Sport card set. Based on their sterling NCAA careers, it would come as no surprise if they were part of the Canadian contingent at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Employing a team-first approach, complemented by a strong respect for the game, the culmination of four fantastic years at Clarkson speaks for itself. Graduating as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 181 points (77 goals, 104 assists), her hockey legacy in the hearts and minds of Clarkson fans is secure.
Helping to provide inspiration as an empowering role model for young female players, Rattray is among a rare group of elites that has established herself as a hockey hero on both sides of the Canadian and American border. While she would certainly be a solid first-round favorite for the 2014 CWHL Draft, should she choose to declare eligibility, the future of women’s hockey would benefit greatly from her presence.
Photo credit: Angela Lisuzzo