COLUMBUS, Ohio — Maddie Babnik, an incoming freshman for the 2019-20 season, is the 2019 recipient of the Cammi Granato Female High School Player of the Year award, given annually to the best female high school hockey player in the state of Illinois.
“At first I was in shock,” Babnik said of winning the award. “I didn’t really think about it throughout the year, I just focused on having the best season possible. But once that shock wore off a sense of pride kicked in. It feels good to have the hard work and accomplishments validated.”
Part of winning the award involved getting to attend lunch with the Chicago Blackhawks, a real treat for a lifelong Blackhawks fan. “Having lunch with the Blackhawks was a lot of fun. Jonathan Toews sat at my table so I got to talk to him about his career and his youth hockey experience, and getting to talk to the other players about their experiences was cool. They all took the time to talk to me about my experience and what I’m doing after high school. It was a cool experience getting to know these players I’ve looked up to for years as a Blackhawks fan.”
As cool as being named the player of the year is, Babnik has one goal left in her high school career, going out on top. Her team, New Trier, is set to face Fenwick in the Illinois State Championship on March 22, and Babnik has her eyes on the prize. “I’m excited for next week’s championship game. We’re a talented group and I know we have a great chance of winning, but our competitors are really good too. I think it’ll be a close and intense game, but I know my team has enough talent and has worked hard enough to win.”