2021-22 Janjet Awards

Jadyn Smith, Woodbury Royals
Jadyn Smith, Woodbury Royals

Offbeat, unsung and overlooked

The inaugural Janjet Awards recognize the myriad ways players contributed to their team's success

JanJet staff
Sunday, March 6, 2022

Champions have been crowned, seniors have been given their send-offs and team banquets have been held. But before we turn the page and set our sights on the next season, it’s time for us to recognize the locker room leaders, the unsung heroes and the offbeat and understated players that make each team special and unique. It’s time for the first-ever Janjet Awards!

In no particular order and with no specific categories, here are just some of the players from around the state who stood out in their own unique ways. The Janjet Award winners held a special spot in the hearts and minds of their teammates, coaches, parents and fans during the 2021-22 girls high school hockey season in Minnesota.

Ladies and gentlemen, here are your 2021-22 Janjet Award recipients:

Danica Mark, Duluth Marshall Hilltoppers

Danica Mark is truly a selfless utility player, filling in
Duluth Marshall's Danica Mark
Duluth Marshall's Danica Mark
on all three lines, power play, penalty kill, and even JV goalie. Danica has the hardest forecheck on the Hilltoppers’ team, maybe in the entire section.

“She hustles harder than any player I’ve watched this year,” said Amy Boettcher, a Duluth Marshall parent. “She is a leader on and off the ice. She is the ultimate example of a team-first player, taking on player communication and team bonding events. She is always cheering on every single player on our team in every single way.”

In the off season, Danica lifts and trains regularly, runs and skates on the hockey treadmill, and can never get enough ice time. She has often been known to leave a practice or game and head straight to the outdoor ice rinks. Her work ethic, love of the game, and will to improve her own game and her team is evident in everything she does.

Danica, a junior, is also a National Honor Society member and A level student at Duluth Marshall. She is a former hockey ref, volunteer in the community and a two-sport athlete (she will be captain of the tennis team next year).

Jadyn Smith, Woodbury Royals

Woodbury junior Jadyn Smith knows how to balance hard work and keeping things spirited and fun. Jadyn didn’t score a lot this year but was integral in helping Woodbury to a successful 14-12-0 season. “She is a swing player and has had minimal varsity playing time but we wouldn't exist without her,” says Woodbury coach Angel Crowley.

First off, one of the assistant coaches for some reason couldn't remember her name and continually called her Jenna, and Jadyn decided to go with it and calling her Jenna became a running joke. Also, when Woodbury played East Ridge, the team struggled. Jadyn decided to take two bright blue stars and tape them to her helmet to cheer up her teammates. During the Hopkins game, Jadyn was moonwalking on the bench and got everyone singing and dancing.

In the Kaposia Classic championship game on New Year's Eve against Champlin Park/Coon Rapids, Jadyn wore 2022 glasses as she skated around the ice during warmups.

In addition to her sense of humor, Crowley adds that Jadyn is the Royals’ hardest worker. “She has switched between D and forward at any request and does everything she can to support us. We wouldn't be the same without Jadyn AKA Jenna Smith!”

Ava Patronas, Duluth Northern Stars

Let me take a moment to introduce you to Ava Patronas, AKA Silky Mitts. Ava is a senior grinder
Duluth's Ava Patronas
Duluth's Ava Patronas
for the Duluth Northern Stars. Ava has been a staple of the Stars program since 2018. As a freshman, she came in hot, literally. Landing herself with a concussion within the first two weeks. But it never slowed her down. She has been true to herself since day one.

Ava consistently shows up for her team, is the voice of reason, the positive thinker, the one with the one-liners that come out of left field and keeps you chuckling all the way to the bench. She has been obsessed with Bubbl'R, making numerous attempts to get “sponsored”, win giveaways on Instagram and wanted her coach to buy a Bubbl’R fridge for the locker room.

Ava drinks a Monster energy drink before games and, when encouraged to make healthier choices, she responds with "it's sugar free." Ava is also the only player Duluth coaches have ever told she needs to have her hair in a ponytail on the ice. Ava is literally always true to herself in the absolute best ways.

Ava was convinced that after being out sick this season, she “forgot how to play hockey” but that again didn’t stop her from showing up daily and pushing her teammates. Ava was dubbed Silky Mitts by a rockstar team manager in 2019 and it has stuck, even when she tells the team she lost her mitts, left them at home, on the bus, or in the locker room.

Ava always returns to the bench the true Silky Mitts way, with high fives for her teammates. Whether she gets one shift a game or 20, it does not matter. Ava will leave the rink with the same swag as she had when she arrived; rocking her Tims, joggers, Stars jacket, hat and her sunglasses.

Ava Patronas may not leave her mark on the Duluth team in the stats department, but she leaves her mark in many of the best ways that go beyond the scoreboard!

McKenzie Rich, Dodge County Wildcats

As the Dodge County Wildcats leading scorer this year, McKenzie Rich is no stranger to her opponents
Dodge County's McKenzie Rich
Dodge County's McKenzie Rich
in southern Minnesota, but head coach Jeremy Gunderson knows his do-it-all senior isn’t as well known in the metro area and up north. Recently, Rich tallied five goals in three games at the annual season-ending Senior Classic, an all-star series for the best seniors in the state.

“She’s a sparkplug, a tough, two-way player,” says Gunderson. This year, Gunderson put Rich on a line with a pair of ninth graders and both freshmen scored over 30 points. “She makes players around her better.”

Her huge impact in mentoring the young Wildcat players is evidence that McKenzie’s value to the team goes beyond the stat sheet. McKenzie has displayed leadership qualities all season in helping the Wildcats to a winning, 14-12-0 record. Rich is currently weighing various options for playing college hockey next season.

Molly Terebayza, Champlin Park/Coon Rapids Rebels

Head coach Todd Gutterman admires the leadership
Champlin Park/Coon Rapids forward Molly Terebayza
Champlin Park/Coon Rapids forward Molly Terebayza
he got from the team’s five captains this season. Senior Molly Terebayza took on the role of the quiet leader.

“She lets her work in practice and games be her voice,” says Gutterman. “She’s super coachable.” Terebayza set a CP/CR single-season record this season with 39 points “It’s all about the team,” coach says. “She is a lead by example-type of kid.”

Terebayza will be taking those quiet leadership qualities with her to college next fall where she will play college hockey at St. Olaf College in Northfield. “She is a true team player,” Gutterman says. “She doesn’t do this just for herself.”

Greta Betzer, Hopkins/Park Royals

Hopkins/Park's Greta Betzer

Hopkins/Park's Greta Betzer 

Hopkins/Park senior captain Greta Betzer was playing the best hockey of her career when she broke her wrist in December in a game against Waseca. Greta did a tremendous job recovering from her injury while helping coach from the bench. She eventually made it back to game action and was a part of senior night and section playoffs.

“Tremendous job by her to make the most of the situation, pivot when circumstances dictated it and was a great teammate throughout,”said Hopkins/Park head coach Ryan St. Martin.

Makenzie Johnson, Armstrong/Cooper Wings

Senior Makenzie Johnson just concluded a high school career with the Armstrong/Cooper
Armstrong/Cooper's Makenzie Johnson
Armstrong/Cooper's Makenzie Johnson
Wings that started when she was in eighth grade. Makenzie played a mix of varsity and JV that first year. “By freshman year she was a mainstay on varsity,” says second-year head coach Matt Cook.

The five-time letter winner has shown great leadership and versatility throughout her prep career, moving from defense to center and wing. The team endured a winless season in ‘20-21, before dramatically improving to 11-14-1 this season. Johnson was a veteran who was a big reason for the team’s improvement, notching 20 points on the season and leading the team’s much-improved penalty kill.

“She’s definitely a positive influence,” says Cook. “She goes out of her way to make sure everyone is included. She’s outgoing with everyone.”

Mackenzie recently participated in the annual Seniors Classic and intends on playing Division III hockey next year.

Rankings Rankings Class 2A
4.Holy Family7.607
5.Lakeville South7.500
6.Benilde - St. Margaret's7.393
8.Gentry Academy7.032
9.Hill Murray7.000
Rankings Class 1A
3.Proctor / Hermantown6.767
4.Holy Angels6.500
6.Mound Westonka 6.154
7.South St. Paul5.800
9.Duluth Marshall5.720
10.Fergus Falls5.704


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