Who is... Hilary Knight?
After two Olympic appearances, Hilary Knight has become the face of women’s hockey in the U.S. Knight, threatening to boycott the 2017 World Championships along with her U.S. teammates, successfully negotiated for more equitable support from USA Hockey last year. With barely enough time for the ink to dry on their new deal, Knight and the rest of Team USA marched in and claimed their fourth straight World Championship gold medal. In heroic fashion, it was Knight who scored the golden overtime goal in the final against bitter rival Canada.
Hilary Knight was born July 12th, 1989 in Palo Alto, CA, into a family that loved to ski. When she was five her family moved from California to the suburbs of Chicago, where her mother, looking for a way for her children to make new friends before starting school, took the suggestion of a family friend and signed Hilary and her brothers up for ice skating lessons.
Her parents supported her decision to play hockey all the way, but one of Knight’s grandmothers needed more convincing. A young, and excited Hilary informed her grandmother she had started to play hockey, but upon hearing the news, Hilary’s grandmother felt girls were not supposed to play hockey. Knight says when her grandmother approached her mother to express her concerns, Hilary’s mom stuck up for her, telling her own mother, “Get with the times. Hilary plays hockey.”
On the ice, Hilary loved to go fast. She enjoyed feeling the cool air on her face as she would skate. After seeing kids in hockey equipment at the rink, a young Hilary convinced her parents to sign her up to play, and once she started, she never stopped.
Knight is a two-time national champion, having played for head coach and 1980 Miracle on Ice legend Mark Johnson An at the University of Wisconsin, where she still holds the school records for most career goals and points, in addition to many others.
A year ahead of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, Knight unloaded on opponents at the 2009 Women’s World Championships, scoring a tournament-leading seven goals in five games, while helping the U.S. win their second straight gold.
Since Knight has been on the national team roster, the United States has played Canada in every World Championship and Olympic final from 2007 to 2017, with the U.S. claiming a record seven World Championship golds, in addition to two silvers.
Knight also holds a U.S. record for most power play goals by one player in a single game at a world championship when she scored three in 2011 against Russia.
Knight plays big on the ice, which is a great source of pride for her. At 5’11” she is one of the tallest players in the women’s game, and her muscular frame, weighing between 170-180lbs, fulfills the prerequisites to play the game as a dominating power forward.
"The very first time I stepped on the ice when I was a kid, it was just...it was magical. Yeah, I couldn't skate, but it was really cool to be out there and on this, sort of extraterrestrial looking surface and then it sort of sparked the interest of, 'Okay, how do I get to the other side of the rink?"
Hilary Knight is a two-time Olympic silver medalist, having played in the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Games, where she has scored 4 goals and had 10 assists in ten Olympic contests.
In both appearances, Team USA was beaten by Canada in the gold medal final, which has only helped to fuel the bitter rivalry which surfaces any time the two teams meet on the ice.
Outside the rink
Knight lives in Boston, and if she’s not playing hockey for Team USA or the NWHL’s Boston Pride, you might see her hanging out with her English bulldog, Winston at a local dog park. She also stays active playing tennis, lacrosse and if she’s visiting her family in Sun Valley, Idaho, she’ll hit the river for some whitewater rafting.
Knight also enjoys giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at her life on social media. She shoots videos of herself and teammates with her GoPro, and posts them on her YouTube channel.