Hilary Knight is a hockey player competing for Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Knight has been a key cog in the well-oiled machine that is U.S women’s hockey. She currently has five points (3 goals, two assists) in Sochi and is one of the most skilled attackers in the world.
The 24-year-old Sun Valley, Idaho, native scored just 53 seconds into Team USA’s opening Olympic match against Finland — the first of the Winter Games.
The U.S. faces arch-rival Canada in the gold medal final on Thursday at 12 p.m. ET.
Here’s what you need to know about Knight:
1. She Had a Prolific Collegiate Career at Wisconsin
Knight played four seasons for the Wisconsin Badgers women’s ice hockey team from 2007 to 2012. She took the 2009-10 season off to train for the Olympics.
By the time her tenure in Madison was over, she was the school’s all-time leader in career goals (143), career shots (986), career points (262), career game-winning goals (30), power-play goals (37), shorthanded goals (8), plus/minus (+167) and hat tricks (9).
2. She Grew Up in a Skiing Household
According to Hilary-Knight.com, Knight’s parents were skiers who had never ice skated. Her cousin, Chip Knight, was a three-time Olympic skier. Consequently, she was introduced to skis at age two. Hilary’s mom, Cynthia, first got turned onto the idea of Hilary playing hockey from her paddle tennis partner, whose husband proposed it.
3. She Made Her Olympic Debut in 2010
Knight made her Olympic debut at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada. At 20 years old, she was the youngest member of that team, which went on to capture the silver medal.
She had eight points in the 2010 Games with one goal against Finland and seven assists.
4. Knight Says ‘Hatred’ is Appropriate Description of USA vs. Canada Rivalry
Dan Patrick: “We normally don’t see women’s sports where the world ‘hatred’ is involved. Is hatred a fair word to use between the United States and Canada? Or you got a better word?”
Hilary Knight: “No, hatred’s pretty good… when we get between the glass and it’s U.S. versus Canada, it’s everything on the line, it’s a great game to be a part of.”
5. She Was Honored With ‘Hilary Knight Day’ in Her Hometown
In May 2011, Knight was honored by her hometown of Sun Valley, Idaho, for her contributions to the sport of women’s ice hockey and representation of the city at an international competition.
According to the Wisconsin athletics website, the city declared May 19, 2011, as Hilary Knight Day.
“We are very pleased to have Hilary as a representative of Sun Valley. Her ‘team-first’ positive attitude and enthusiasm is a great example for the young women in our community. We are pleased Hilary is able to take a break from her grueling training schedule to return home and be with us today to accept this award and we look forward to her continued success.”
Mayor Willitch presented Knight with a plaque and a key to the city during a city council meeting.
You can follow her on Twitter at @Hilary_Knight.