Chances are, if you're any sort of hockey fan, you're a Hilary Knight fan.
Well, we are too. Presenting our Woman Crush...
Hilary Knight is a two-time Olympian who plays forward for Team USA. She went to the University of Wisconsin where she helped the Badgers win two National Championships in 2009 and 2011. She currently plays for the Boston Pride in the NWHL and is busy preparing for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea with Team USA.
Hilary often played with all boys growing up. "At the time, I just wanted to be the best teammate and competitor I could be and share the responsibility of being a member of the team. I overcame my fair share of bullying and nastiness from opponents, sometimes even their parents, but I attributed that to not being good enough. It instilled a fire and determination to prove to the people who bullied me, even those who shared an ounce of doubt, wrong. The beautiful thing about sports is that they have the ability to unite people and bring us together and that is something I have always cherished. I love the game, so I kept playing."
That love of the game is something that still inspires Hilary today. But like any professional athlete, her motivation has become something tangible... an Olympic Gold Medal. In both 2010 and 2014, Team USA came up short in the Olympic finals. Hilary, who has two silver medals, has set her sights higher for next winter.
"In 2018, we want the Gold."
"I am honored every time I have an opportunity to represent our country, whether in an exhibition game or a gold medal final- nothing quite like it! Since the Olympics are only every four years, it is so special to be a part of the Olympic team. When we step on the ice, it’s as if everything comes together at that moment- all your hard work, the early mornings, the late nights, the injuries, tears, the setbacks, the airports, buses, and car rides, the progress, the smiles, the laughter- everything comes together. You quickly realize that the sport you play, that particular game, it is sensational in more ways than one. It’s a part of something bigger than oneself, its about all the other people you are representing and you want nothing more than to honor them by bringing home a gold medal. One thing is certain about our group. Every time we step on the ice, we want to win."
Apart from the Olympics, Team USA also competes in the World Championships. The USA women have demanded fair and equitable treatment form USA hockey in order for them to participate in next month's tournament. You can read more about their strike here.
We asked Hilary how she responds to times when scoring is hard to come by. Something similar between soccer and hockey is that as a forward, it's your job to score. When you aren't scoring, it can turn into a mental hurdle that makes you overthink.
"Try to think positively and contribute on other levels. You can only control so much and sometimes you won’t get the bounces you want, but by focusing on the things you can control and how you can contribute in other areas it releases the burden of the 'slump'."
See the rest of our interview with Hilary below.
SC: What three professional female athletes would you most like to have lunch with? (Besides us)
HK: Serena Williams, Abby Wambach, Sue Bird/Diana Turasi
SC: How do you think that the female athlete community can do a better job coming together in support of one another?
HK: Watch other people’s games, collaborate more both on and offline. Connect with one another, be overly supportive. (See our Spinach Challenge with some of Hilary's teammates here.)
SC: What would you tell your 16 year old self?
HK: Be confident. Keep going.
SC: What TV shows are you watching right now?
HK: The Crown, Westworld, Vikings, Nashville, Scandal
SC: Dunkin Donuts order?
HK: Half coffee, half hot chocolate not to be confused with a Dunkachino, but if I am reaching for a caffeinated bevy, its a cold Red Bull.
SC: What advice would you give to first-time ice skaters?
HK: It's okay to fall 😃
SC: Would you ever wear clear, see-through heels? (current sporting chic company debate)
HK: It depends... If the shoe looks cool and I feel great in it… I'll wear it!
We have a couple more features on Hilary's teammates coming out over the next few days! If you've missed the first seven (7!) make sure to visit our Features page.