Knox set for Team Canada camp
One minute she was playing outdoor shinny with her teammates, the next, she was receiving one of the most exciting phone calls any athlete can get. That was the situation Laurier goalie Liz Knox found herself in when, at the team’s community skate on Mar. 6, she was invited to try out for a spot on Canada’s women’s hockey team this weekend.
“It really is surreal,” said Knox. “With our season at Laurier coming to an end, just reflecting back on the last five years and then looking back on my minor hockey days I got really nostalgic thinking back to when I was a little kid who couldn’t dream of anything but playing for Canada and now I’m one of four goalies that actually get that chance.”
The roster Knox will be attempting to crack will be the one that goes to the 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship in Zurich and Winterhur, Switzerland, from April 16-25.
And cracking that roster will not be easy for the now Laurier women’s hockey alumna as all three goalies from Canada’s 2010 Olympic gold medal team — Kim St. Pierre, Shannon Szabados and McGill’s Charlene Labonte — are all back at this year’s selection camp.
“It’s a pretty humbling group to be in for sure,” said Knox. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for them obviously and it’s a really good position for me to be in as a younger goalie just kind of making my way on to the scene…. If I just try and make them better that means I’m going to be pushing myself to be the best goalie I can be.”
In that group of goalies, Knox has become particularly close with her fellow Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) goaltender, Labonte.
“Labonte and I have become pretty good friends over the last couple of years,” said Knox. “The CIS thing helps because I see her a little bit more than I see the other two, but once you’re there, everyone really just treats you like you’re one of them.”
Knox and Labonte are two of just four CIS players invited to camp.
This weekend’s camp will mark the second time Knox has tried out for the Canadian national team, being invited to camp for the Four Nations cup last summer.
She has also represented Canada at this past February’s Winter Universiade, as well as on the Under-22 level.
However, that’s not the only additional experience Knox has.
This past weekend she was called up to be an emergency back-up for Brampton of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL).
This not only allowed her to reunite with former Laurier teammate Andrea Ironside, but also practice with national team stalwarts such as Jayna Hefford, Cherie Piper and Gillian Apps.
“It was a really good chance to get a feel for the pace of the game at that level and see some harder shots,” said Knox. “The five teams that are there really are elite teams, with elite players and elite coaching.”
While her career at Laurier may have come to an end this year, Knox is no where near finished with hockey, whether she makes Team Canada or not.
“I’m going to play until my body won’t let me anymore,” she said. “Next year I’m hoping to find a place in the CWHL and from there, [the 2014 Olympic team] is a nice goal, but it’s still a long way away and it’s going to take a lot of work, but hopefully I’ll stay on the national team’s radar for the next few years.”