Why we’re crushing on Hilary Knight:
Hilary is a two-time Olympic Silver Medal-winning hockey player from the United States and is widely considered the best female hockey player in the world. She has also competed in seven consecutive IIHF World Championships with Team USA, winning five Gold Medals and two Silver Medals along the way. In college, Knight led NCAA Women’s Hockey in 2011 with 47 goals and helped propel her University of Wisconsin Badgers to a National Championship. Click here for a complete summary of everything she has accomplished in hockey so far!
Last year, Hilary was featured in the 2014 edition of ESPN’s Body Issue. She received a lot of positive feedback but also plenty of negative criticism about how she is too muscular for a woman. We love the way she reacted to the commentary with confidence and poise, here’s the video from Hilary’s shoot:
I chose Hilary for our WCW this week because lately, the topic of women and girls in sports has become a hot issue. I am not usually one to get riled up about sports, but recently I have been paying more attention because of how ridiculously archaic the perception of women in professional sports is. The fact that the U.S. men’s soccer team received $9 million after finishing 11th in the World Cup and the U.S. women’s soccer team was awarded $2 million for WINNING the tournament is absolutely insane. This fall, the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) will officially break ground as the first and only league in North America that will pay women to play hockey professionally. And it’s 2015! It is easy to forget that there is still so much progress to be made on the gender equality front in the United States, especially in sports.
BUT, I chose Hilary because she shows us that the future is bright. She is the future of women’s hockey and she is paving the way for young girls around the world who are picking up sticks and dreaming of a time when they can play on the same ice as the men! In Hilary, they are able to look at a beautiful, strong, feminine woman who can keep up with some of the most talented male hockey players in the game today.
Here’s a video featuring Hilary practicing with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks last fall, working to break down the barriers between men’s and women’s ice hockey. The Anaheim players and coaching staff were all impressed by her performance. She is living proof that women deserve their own professional league!
Earlier this week, I was delighted when I saw that Disney Pixar’s Inside Out features a little girl who’s greatest passion is hockey, a sport typically perceived as a “man’s game”. She isn’t worried about being a girl in a sport traditionally dominated by men, she simply loves the game and excels at it. I am beyond excited that these gender-based stereotypes are SLOWLY beginning to disappear in our popular media.
Overall, the future is very bright for women in professional sports, and it is because of people like Hilary Knight who are never afraid to be exactly who they are, no matter what the rest of the world thinks of them. We look forward to seeing more fearless women continue to excel at the professional level!