Bulldogs' Soderberg caps week of awards as WCHA's Outstanding Student-Athlete in 2022-23

A finalist for the WCHA's player of the year award, Soderberg was named the WCHA Goaltender of the Year and Goaltending Champion, as well as a top-three finalist for national goaltender of the year.

women college hockey players compete during game at Amsoil Arena
Minnesota Duluth forward Clara Van Wieren (25) bumps fists with Minnesota Duluth goaltender Emma Soderberg (30) after scoring a goal against Harvard at Amsoil Arena on Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, in Duluth.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

DULUTH — The week began with Minnesota Duluth fifth-year senior goaltender Emma Soderberg being honored for what she’s done on the ice in 2022-23. On Thursday, the Swedish Olympian was recognized for what she’s doing off the ice.

Soderberg was named the WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year on Thursday after being named the WCHA Goaltender of the Year and a top-three finalist for national goaltender of the year on Wednesday. Her Bulldogs take on Ohio State in the WCHA Final Faceoff semifinals at 1 p.m. Friday in Minneapolis.

A two-time WCHA Goaltending Champion and first-team All-WCHA selection in her three seasons as starter, Soderberg finished with a league-best 1.59 goals against average, .932 save percentage and eight shutouts in her 23 WCHA games this season.

In the classroom this year, Soderberg has a 3.81 grade point average as an economics major. It’s her second major at the University of Minnesota Duluth after graduating magna cum laude last spring with a bachelors degree in organizational management. Soderberg is also a weekly volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club in Duluth.

"Emma is the backbone of our team and has been for three years now," Bulldogs coach Maura Crowell said in Thursday’s announcement. "She is an amazing hockey player with all the WCHA, national, and international accolades to back it up. More importantly, she's an incredible example of what it means to be a student-athlete. A native of Sweden, English is her second language and she has excelled in her academics ever since arriving in Duluth. She is beloved by her teammates and coaches because she is so driven, intelligent, witty, and caring."


The WCHA’s Outstanding Student-Athlete Award is voted on by the league’s eight faculty athletics representatives. Soderberg is the sixth Bulldog to win the honor, joining Catherine Daoust (2017-18), Olympic bronze medalist Lara Stalder in 2016-17, Olympic gold medalist Jocelyne Larocque (10-11), two-time winner Ritta Schaublin (05-06, 06-07) and Olympic gold medalist Caroline Ouellette (04-05).

Soderberg was also a top-three finalist this week for WCHA Player of the Year. That honor went to Ohio State fifth-year senior defenseman Sophie Jaques.

Ohio State’s Nadine Muzerall and St. Cloud State’s Brian Idalski shared the WCHA Coach of the Year award after Muzerall led the Buckeyes to the WCHA regular season title and Idalski took the Huskies from nine wins last year to 18 in his first season.

The WCHA is holding its postseason semifinals and final this weekend at the University of Minnesota’s Ridder Arena in Minneapolis. The Gophers host Wisconsin in the second semifinal on Friday evening. The championship is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at Ridder.

Bulldogs snubbed by Patty Kaz

hockey player sits in front of a computer for an interview as teammates gather behind her
With her teammates and family members gathered behind her, Minnesota Duluth senior forward Gabbie Hughes smiles while being interviewed virtually during the 2022 Patty Kazmaier Award announcement show on NHL Network on Saturday, March 26, 2022. A special watch-along party was held inside Malosky Stadium on the campus of UMD.
Dan Williamson / File / Duluth News Tribune

A year after landing two players in the top 10, with Gabbie Hughes emerging as a top three finalist, no Bulldogs were among the top-10 finalists for Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award , which was announced Thursday.

Hughes, a top-five finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award for the second season in a row, is currently 15th in scoring in the NCAA this season averaging 1.31 points per game off the 10 goals and 36 assists she has in 35 games. The 1.03 assists per game for the Bulldogs fifth-year senior center and co-captain is fifth in the country.

Minnesota’s Taylor Heise and Grace Zumwinkle and Ohio State’s Jennifer Gardiner and Sophie Jaques were the only four from the WCHA to make the top 10. Heise and Jaques were among the top three last season with Heise winning the award.

Jaques was the lone defenseman among the top 10 this year as seven of the top 10 are forwards.


Two of the three goaltender of the year finalists are among the top 10, but not Sodeberg, whose 11 shutouts lead the NCAA this season (and are also a single-season UMD record).

Soderberg’s 1.36 GAA is third in the NCAA while her .938 save percentage is ranked fourth, however, those stats come in what has been the best league in the NCAA this season. The WCHA has four teams heading to the NCAA tournament (the ECAC could join UMD with four, as well) and the best interconference record in the NCAA this year at 38-6-2.

This story originally omitted Lara Stalder as a previous WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete winner in 2016-17. It was updated at 3:43 p.m. on March 3. The News Tribune regrets the error.

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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