Q&A with Hilary Knight

Q&A with Hilary Knight

Team USA's Hilary Knight flips a hockey puck in the air during a photo shoot

What is your earliest memory of playing hockey?
I love the feeling of speed, going fast, but I also love how dynamic our game is and how every play is different then the one before. My two earliest memories: earning little buttons on our skates when we learned how to skate from one end of the ice to the other and when I first lifted the puck. I was a late bloomer, so I never had great stick skills until I got older.

What is your first memory of watching the Olympics?
[I remember] 1998 when USA won gold in [women’s] hockey. Yes, I still imagine myself receiving a gold medal. I wrote/illustrated a book for a school project in elementary school and it has a picture of USA v. CAN rivalry on the back cover. U.S. won 🙂 Obviously!

Do you remember a “breakthrough” moment in your hockey career when you realized you could make it to the Olympic Games?
In 2005, when the U.S. National team played at my high school, I thought, yes I can do this. I need to do this. It’s funny though because I told my grandmother when I was five years old, that I was going to be in the Olympics but it wasn’t until later when I had an “A-HA!” moment that it actually felt tangible and close.

Who in your family has had the biggest influence on your life and athletic career?
Both of my parents have loved and supported me from my very first strides. Absolutely. My mother was a strong influence and role model in my life. She taught me that it doesn’t matter who I am, but what matters is my passions. If I want something, I need to work hard for it and go get it.

Within the hockey world, who has had the biggest impact on you?
Cammi Granato and Angela Ruggiero.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
Can’t give away all my secrets…but my mom has always said, “bust your butt and have fun out there.”

What obstacles have you had to overcome in your life?
Bullying for being a girl on an all boys team and injuries.

Are there any misconceptions about women’s hockey you would like to clear up?
That our sport isn’t physical or we can’t handle physicality…quite the opposite. Also, I think we get written off as playing a men’s sport and it’s too masculine for females, even though most of us dawn 20-30 lbs. of equipment. It doesn’t take away how brilliant we are as competitors, amazing role models or attractive and fit women.

What’s something people would be surprised to learn about being an Olympian?
When you see us on the world stage, its hours and hours of practice. It’s every decision we make on a daily basis, trying to put yourself towards Olympic goals/aspirations. It should look easy because that’s when the real fun begins. Once you’ve put in all the work and get to the biggest moment of your career.

What kind of nutrition plan do you follow?
[I eat] six smaller meals a day not including snacks. I try to get a well-balanced diet with a mix of greens, protein and carbs. Carbs are my favorite. Smoothies are a must.

How much time do you spend training each day?
“Office” [aka the gym] 2-3 hours; on ice 1-2 hours.

What’s the most grueling workout you’ve ever done?
Any of our conditioning tests or bike workouts.

Are there any training techniques you use that could be considered out of the ordinary or experimental?
Recovery techniques: Dry needling, acupuncture, cupping and hip mobility work.

What are some of your favorite workout songs?
Hip Hop/Rap or Pop. Anything Beyoncé, Drake or Nicki Minaj.

Do you have a personal motto or inspirational quote?
“Dare to be _______” (insert word).

What’s the coolest, weirdest or most intense thing about hockey that people don’t normally see?
You have to have a combination of skills in order to play. You need to be able to skate, read, react, stick handle, shoot, etc. Our sport looks significantly different on the glass, and up close verses TV or further in the stands. I’ve been told that the way we move the stick is enchanting and magical.

Do you have any nicknames?
Knighter. Teammates started calling me that.

Who are your biggest rivals? Is it friendly or contentious?
Canada. Blood bath-type rivalry. Both teams come to play and I think it shows a level of respect when you can get over-the-top competition out of two teams every time we face off.

How do you like to unwind after a game?
A chocolate bar with almonds and TV.

What is your favorite perk of being an Olympic athlete?
Playing and training with the best people/athletes on earth.

Do you like all the travel that comes with being an international athlete?
Love it! I went as a sports envoy/sports ambassador to Belarus. It was so amazing, great food and super friendly people.

Have you been to South Korea? What are you excited to experience in PyeongChang?
No, I haven’t. Every Olympics is a new adventure but I am most looking forward to representing our country on a world stage and bring home gold.

Karaoke is popular in South Korea. What would you sing if asked to get on stage?
Something country. I’d like to avoid it.

Where did you attend high school?
Choate Rosemary Hall [in Wallingford, Connecticut.]

[I attended the] University of Wisconsin, [and studied] history. Played in four Final Four NCAA [hockey] championships; and won two NCAA titles. Played for Mark Johnson, [who was on the 1980 U.S. Miracle on Ice Olympic team in Lake Placid.]

Are you a fan of any professional sport teams or players?
F1 driver: Lewis Hamilton, NHL: Sideny Crosby, Connor McDavid, Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane, NFL: Tom Brady, Soccer: Cristiano Ronaldo, Abby Wambach, Paul Rabil.

Do you have a celebrity crush?
Tom Hardy

If you are to indulge, what’s your favorite food, snack and dessert?
Pizza or a cheeseburger, Chobani yogurt (I always indulge in this), chocolate milkshake.

What do you like to do when you’re not playing hockey?
I love going to the movies, whitewater rafting in the summer when I am home in Idaho, biking in the summer in Idaho, paddle boarding in the summer. I also like creating fun projects to help push our sport forward to gain more visibility.

What are your favorite movies?
“Wedding Crashers,” “Bridesmaids,” “Batman,” “The Man from Uncle” and “The Proposal.”

Do you have any fears?

Do you have any hidden talents?
I can rope “lasso.”

What is your favorite social media platform?
Instagram or Snapchat. I like to give people a look into my life behind-the-scenes and share scenes, memories and moments with people all over the world. I also try to impact peoples’ lives in a positive way.

Do you have any pets?
Yessss! Winston or Winnie. He is an English bulldog and a chunk of love.

Do you speak any languages other than English?
Swedish, Spanish and I’m learning French.

What kind of work would you be interested in doing if you were not a professional/Olympic hockey player?
Lawyer or working somewhere in digital marketing.

What’s something quirky about yourself that people would be amused to learn?
I like to clean.