Who is Liz Knox? If we were playing Jeopardy that would be the answer to the question: A role model and a source of inspiration. A person who is celebrated for their skills and actions. A person who has a profound influence on others.
Knox owns this category. A true inspiration to the game of hockey, on and off the ice. Since hanging up the pads following a successful career as a pro goaltender, she continues to leave her fingerprints all over the hockey scene. To say she has done it all is an understatement.
Knox started her journey playing with the Markham-Stouffville Hockey Association. She played house league all the way through junior with a core group of 6 to 8 girls and a handful of coaches.
She played two years of Pee Wee with the boys, attributing much of her success with the mental side of the game. Playing on a boy’s team, chirps from the other team or parents were the norm. “Shoot from anywhere, they have a girl in net” is one of the many examples.
But despite the adversity, Knox was grateful to spend her development years playing with the boys.
“It was a good opportunity to face harder shots and play the game faster,” she said.
With the growing popularity of girls hockey in North America there are now numerous quality programs available today that Knox didn’t have when she was growing up.
“Girls hockey has come a long way. Girls train so much harder, they’re stronger, they put more emphasis on skills, shooting, and skating,” Knox said. “There are more coaching and skill development opportunities.”
Knox continued to play hockey throughout high school. She would go on to dominate the University scene winning four OUA Championships and voted U SPORTS Women’s Hockey Player of the year in 2010.
She is undoubtedly one of the most decorated players in Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks women’s ice hockey history, which was recognized when she was inducted into WLU’s Golden Hawk Hall of Fame in 2016.
In 2011, Knox won gold for Team Canada at the Winter Universiade and at the IIHF 12 Nations Tournament.
Currently a probationary firefighter for the Town of Oakville, Knox played pro in the CWHL with the Brampton/Markham Thunder and became a Clarkson Cup Champion in 2018 and even played a season Down Under with the Melbourne Ice women’s hockey club of the Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League (AWIHL).
One of Knox’s favourite experiences was serving as Captain for Team Gold in the 2019 CWHL All-Star game at Scotiabank Arena, home to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I got a taste of what it’s like to be a truly professional hockey player,” Knox said. “The teams consisted of professional players, Olympians, and World Champions. There was no shortage of talent.”
The experience of being treated like an NHLer is the atmosphere Knox and the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) are working hard to duplicate by focussing on building a sustainable women’s pro hockey league.
One of the league’s goals is to provide the next generation of girl hockey players something to aspire toward.
“We’re in a really good position where we have a ton of talent and a league that’s operating and doing well. The potential is there to create a truly professional future for women’s hockey,” said Knox, who served as a PWHPA founding member prior to announcing her resignation to ensure Sarah Nurse — one of a handful of black players in the PWHPA — could have a seat on the board.
Knox remains an advisor to the PWHPA and an advocate for the next generation of girls to have a future and career in professional hockey. Her recommendation to young girls and parents is to get educated about the women’s hockey landscape and learn about existing opportunities.