April 22, 2013
MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin women's hockey team held its annual team banquet and awards ceremony at Heritage Hall on Sunday evening, April 21.
Five players received individual awards for their efforts during the season. Senior Brianna Decker was named the Offensive Player of the Year, and freshman Courtney Burke was named both the Defensive Player and Rookie of the Year.
The team's Jeff Sauer Award, which is annually awarded to the most dedicated player, was given to junior goaltender Alex Rigsby. Finally, the Badger Award, given to the team's most inspiring player, was awarded to both Lauren Unser and Jordan Brickner.
The team also honored its senior class, including Saige Pacholok and Alev Kelter, in addition to Brickner, Decker and Unser.
Along with the awards ceremony, the Badgers and their guests enjoyed dinner, a photo slideshow and a highlight video. The video featured each of the seniors reflecting on their careers at Wisconsin, expressing thanks and sharing advice for the underclassmen.
Decker won Offensive Player of the Year honors for a second-consecutive year. Named Second Team All-American and First Team All-WCHA, she led the team this year with 29 goals and 26 assists, ending her career as the second-leading point scorer at Wisconsin. She recorded at least one point in all but nine games this season, finishing tied for 10th in the nation with 55 points.
Burke made a big impact right away for the Badgers. She recorded her first collegiate point against Minnesota State during the opening weekend of the season. She then scored her first collegiate goal, which was also the second Badger goal scored in LaBahn Arena on Oct. 21 against Bemidji State. Leading both the Badgers’ freshmen and defensemen with 23 points, she was also named to the All-WCHA Rookie Team.
The Badger Award, given to the most inspirational player on the team, was given to both Brickner and Unser this year. Winning the award as well last year, Unser holds the claim to fame as having recorded a point on her first and last shifts as a Badger. Brickner was a mainstay for the Badgers on the blue line over the last two years and was named an assistant captain, just one year after joining the team as a transfer.
Rigsby received the award for being the most dedicated player on the team. Given to the player who consistently demonstrates dedication to the game, Rigsby has started in 105 of the last 116 games since coming to Wisconsin, including having played in each of the last 85 games. She has, or is on pace, to break numerous school records set by former Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Winner Jessie Vetter. Most recently, she became the all-time saves leader at Wisconsin surpassing both Jackie MacMillan and Vetter.
An additional award was also handed out this year, as student manager Nichole Whetter was named the team’s Unsung Hero. Whetter has been with the team for the past three seasons and will graduate this spring with a degree in Accounting and Marketing.