Getting to know professional American hockey player Hilary Knight

Since she first put on her skates at the age of five, Hilary Knight dreamed of representing the United States on the biggest stage in the world, even at a time when women’s hockey was not even considered an Olympic sport yet.

Throughout her childhood, Knight spent the majority of her time on the ice, breaking down barriers playing in boys’ teams (as opportunities for girls were scarce) and working to level the playing field – or ice cream – once and for all.

“I was harassed by parents on opposing teams and even some parents on my own team weren’t happy with a girl taking their boy’s place,” Knight said. “They didn’t think I was good enough. When I think about it, I realize all the things we do as young children. We didn’t even know what we were going through, but we were pioneers in the sport.

Hilary Knight takes workout photos in Sun Valley, Idaho

© Tal Roberts / Red Bull Content Pool

During an illustrious college career at the University of Wisconsin – with multiple national championships, player of the year and All-American accolades – Knight’s childhood dream came true when she joined the team. of the United States as the youngest member for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, winning a silver medal.

I understand what sport can bring to a country and how it can bring people together to achieve a common goal.

This introduction to the highest level of play on the international stage fueled Knight’s fire to take his game and global impact to new heights. “I understand what sport can bring to a country and how it can bring people together to achieve a common goal,” said Knight. “We also understand what a gold medal does for sport in the United States in particular. There is tremendous growth that comes with winning – which it does specifically for the sport of hockey and for the young girls watching. “

Hilary Knight poses for a studio portrait in Sun Valley, Idaho

© Tal Roberts / Red Bull Content Pool

Earning another silver in 2014, followed by his career high point – a gold in 2018 – established Team USA and Knight as the best in the world, but also opened his eyes to the funding gaps. and sports programming.

Knight has become the face of the sport around the world – earning sponsorship deals with brands such as Nike, Bauer and Visa, and recognition of the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and magazine’s Body Issue. ESPN – but opportunities to pursue his career at the highest level were not sustainable.

Outside of the Winter Games, Knight won world championships and smashed the record books in professional leagues – the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and the National Women’s Hockey League – while living on peanut butter sandwiches and The jelly. There had to be a way for women to make a living playing hockey, but the current system was not designed to be successful.

Hilary Knight poses for a portrait in Sun Valley, Idaho

© Tal Roberts / Red Bull Content Pool

As the brightest star in sports, Knight has driven this problem not only by inspiring change for his contemporaries, but by creating future generations for long term opportunities in the sport.

After leading a group of the world’s best players who announced that they would not compete in any professional leagues or world championships until better wages and working conditions were confirmed, Knight helped establish the Professional Association of Female Hockey Players, a pro-girls’ hockey organization run and player-led in North America that provides training resources, funding and programs for women to train and compete at an elite level.

The “P-Dub,” as Knight calls it, showcases the best product in female professional ice hockey in the world, but it truly is the next generation for Knight.

Hilary Knight prepares to skate in Sun Valley, Idaho

© Tal Roberts / Red Bull Content Pool

“We have been fighting for years to try to be a catalyst for our industry to make it a better future for the next generation,” said Knight. “We are only a small piece in this puzzle, but it is our responsibility to move it forward and to move the sport forward.”

With a historic on-ice resume that continues to grow – recently breaking the U.S. National Team’s record for career World Championship goals – Knight has carved out a niche on Mount Rushmore for hockey’s greatest players, men. or women, alongside Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe and Mario. The best. But it was her impact off the ice that established her as an all-time legend in any sport of any generation.

Hilary Knight poses for a portrait in Sun Valley, Idaho

© Tal Roberts / Red Bull Content Pool

I hope to be known for having built something substantial, for being a true space visionary and for having built on the shoulders that came before us.

As Knight returns to the world stage in February for a record-tied Fourth Winter Games, his goal is to win another gold for the United States. But as she reflects on her career and how she would like to be remembered, she dreams of more than goals, points and wins. Knight hopes her legacy leaves the sport in a better place than where she found it as a five-year-old with no girl teams to aspire to and play.

Knight’s indelible mark on the global sporting landscape will be felt for generations to come, as female hockey players of all ages will now have equal and lasting opportunities to train and compete at the highest level.

Catherine J. Martinez