Knox named CIS player of the year

ANTIGONISH, NS — As part of last week’s Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) women’s hockey championship, the top players in Canada were recognized through the announcement of the major award winners as well as the national all-star selections.

Laurier goalie Liz Knox took home the biggest prize of the evening, being named CIS player of the year, becoming the first Golden Hawk in women’s hockey history to win the award.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Knox, who was also named a CIS first-team all-Canadian. “Just in this tournament, we’ve seen a lot of great players and there’s so much more talent throughout the league, so it makes me feel really honoured to be recognized with them.”

Knox was already named the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) player of the year and a first-team provincial all-star in late February, after a season in which she was by far the top goaltender in the CIS, leading the nation in goals against average (0.89), save percentage (.960), wins (24) and shut-outs (11).

Her 11 shut-outs not only set a new OUA single-season record, but also tied the CIS milestone set by McGill’s Charline Labonte, who has won two gold medals with Canada’s national team.

“A goalie like Liz Knox allows you to do so much,” said Laurier head coach Rick Osborne. “From a coaching perspective, I know that I can try anything, I can try a new system and if it fails, Knoxy’s there.”

In addition to her on-ice contributions, Osborne notes how valuable Knox’s presence is to the Hawks’ dressing room.

“She’s an outstanding leader,” he said. “[Team captain Andrea] Ironside’s a great leader, and Knoxy’s a great leadership partner for her, she just blends right in with the other veterans. She’s very inspirational and she means a lot to our team off the ice.”

2009-10 was Knox’s fourth year at Laurier, and whether or not it will prove to be her last is still in question. She still has one more year of eligibility, and when asked about her future after the Hawks’ bronze medal win on Sunday afternoon, Knox simply answered, “We’ll see.”

Whether she will don the Golden Hawk uniform for another season or not, Knox looks back fondly on the time she has spent at Laurier.

“It’s meant so much to me,” she said. “I’ve really come a long way since my first year, and I’ve met a lot of really great people and friends that I’m going to keep for a life time. It’s been a pleasure.”

Also honoured by the CIS last week was Hawks’ first-year centre Candice Styles. Styles was named to the CIS all-rookie team after already winning the OUA’s rookie of the year award three weeks ago. The native of Orangeville, ON racked up eight goals and 12 assists this season, playing the majority of the year on the top line.

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