Behind the hawk: Liz Knox

Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks’ women’s hockey goaltender Liz Knox began her career on the rink at an early age – but she wasn’t always dressed in goalie equipment. Instead, she started off on a pair of figure skates.

“Even while I was figuring skating, I told people I was a hockey player,” said Knox. “Before I had ever touched the puck, I knew that was what I was going to do.”

Knox participated in both figuring skating and hockey for a year before making the full switch to hockey at the age of nine.

In her hometown of Stouffville, Ontario, Knox played girls’ hockey, but also tried her hand with the Peewee A boys for a couple of years.

“The biggest difference is the quickness of the release of the shot and the strength behind it,” she explained.

The fourth-year sociology major now sports the purple and gold as a Laurier Golden Hawk, honing quite an impressive resume.

She was named 2006-07 rookie of the year, is a two time Ontario University Athletics (OUA) all-star, a three time Laurier athlete of the week, a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) tournament MVP, an OUA academic award-winner and a three-time OUA champion.

If that isn’t enough, Knox was also named to the Under 22 Canadian women’s national team this past December where she won a silver medal at the tournament held in Germany.

“That was the closest I’ve come to a professional game,” she said. “The experience was unbelievable.”

Knox was one of only three team members hailing from a CIS hockey league, with the others coming from National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) teams.

Knox first suited up as a member of Team Canada in an exhibition series against the U.S., and she describes the experience as surreal.

“As they sang the national anthem, I was standing on the blue line and looking down at my jersey; I could’ve started crying I was just so happy and emotional.”

Coming into the 2009-10 season with the Hawks, Knox explained that she was very focused and in high spirits.

“I came in with a different perspective this year,” she explained. “I’m just back to playing hockey for the love of it and it’s really helping my game and the focus of it.”

Athletic success seems to run in the Knox family, as her sister is also on her way to becoming a professional dancer. Aside from her family, Knox finds strong support in her teammates.

“Our team spends more time together than most families,” she says. “We’re like sisters – we study together, go to the gym together … it’s just a really fun environment to be in, and it keeps you level-headed.”