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Each year, the best women’s college hockey student-athlete are nominated for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award for their outstanding skills ability, sportsmanship, performance in the clutch and love of hockey. Upon her return to Ohio State, junior defenseman Tessa Bonhomme has built on an already outstanding career and proven herself to be a Top 10 candidate for the award.

After redshirting the 2005-06 season while participating with the Canadian National Women’s Centralization Program in preparation for the 2006 Olympics, Bonhomme returned to the Buckeyes ready to play.

“I missed college hockey because I have so much fun with these girls,” Bonhomme said. “My hockey did get a lot better and I’m a lot quicker [while with Centralization]. It’s nice to be back and bring what I learned while I was away back with me.”

This season, Bonhomme ranks third in the NCAA defenseman point rankings with 1.13 points per game and her 14 goals are the second-most by any blueliner in the nation and lead all WCHA defensemen.

For the Buckeyes, she leads the team with four game-winning goals. Seventeen of Bonhomme’s points have been scored on the power play, including six goals, as she anchors Ohio State’s top power play and penalty kill units. Her success on the ice has been recognized with three WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors this season (Oct. 10, Nov. 28 and Jan. 2).

Humbled by her nomination for the Patty Kazmaier award, Bonhomme says it is a reflection of her team.

“It’s a compliment if you look at the list of ladies nominated because they are phenomenal hockey players,” Bonhomme said. “At the same time my team is also being nominated along with me.”

So far, the Sudbury, Ontario, native has shown the growth of her game on the ice. Bonhomme ranks fourth for the Buckeyes in scoring this season with 34 points, the fourth-most by a defenseman in Ohio State history. She also ranks fourth in the WCHA in overall defenseman scoring. Her excellence reflects the long hours of work Bonhomme dedicated to her hockey in the Canadian women’s training program.

“We had a full day everyday,” Bonhomme said. “We were allowed one day off a week and normally it was our travel day. A regular day for us would consist of practice in the morning, lift in the afternoon and practice in the evening. It made me grow as a person and a player because I learned how to deal with the pressure and stress and how to leave it all out there.”

The defenseman’s hard work is not only paying off on the college level, but is being recognized by the Hockey Canada as well. Along with being a finalist for the prestigious award, Bonhomme also earned a spot on the Canada’s National Women’s Team that will compete in the 2007 Women’s World Championship April 3-10 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.