Hilary Knight has had a journey of a 2018. In February, she won an Olympic gold. She joined the CWHL’s Les Canadiennes de Montreal after returning from PyeongChang, playing the tail end of their season which ended in a first round playoff exit. She’s back in Montreal for the season, on the hunt for her third Clarkson Cup. Coming off yet another Four Nations gold, Knight talked to The Ice Garden when Montreal visited Worcester.
The Ice Garden: You just got back from Four Nations. What was it like going in and reuniting with that team after you won Olympic gold for the first time?
Hilary Knight: So much fun. This is sort of my home away from home here with these guys, but being a member of Team USA is my pride and soul. You just pick up where you left off. And obviously there’s a lot of expectation now moving forward. We are the world champions. You know you have been for many years but now it’s sort of an internal expectation. How do we continue to move forward to challenge ourselves?
TIG: What was it like working with the new coaching staff [at Four Nations]?
Knight: It was awesome. It was a breath of fresh air. They really instilled a lot of confidence in us. It was our first tournament we’re still figuring out different systems. It was a different team too but I felt like whether it was your first tournament or you’ve been there twelve times, people filled their roles pretty well. We got a good result at the end.
TIG: You had some younger, newer players in the team as well. Do you think that they integrated themselves pretty easily?
Knight: Yeah I think that shows like leadership that we have going on. A lot of veterans behind the scenes making things work out, helping out younger players make sure that they feel comfortable because that’s what it’s about. You need everybody playing as if it’s their 20 billionth game in the US jersey, even if it might be their first.
TIG: You joined this team [Les Canadiennes] last year for a couple games. The playoff ended sooner than you probably would have liked. Did you have a hard time getting used to that and was it easier coming back and kind of going into the preseason and regular season?
Knight: Yeah its definitely easier coming from the beginning and joining the team. You feel part of the fabric. You go through the trials and tribulations to overcome all the adversity that you go through. That’s sort of the beautiful part about the season. So I definitely missed that. But at the same time the girls were extremely welcoming of me. It didn’t end up the way we want whatsoever. So I think that made a lot of us hungrier when we came back to put our best foot forward.
TIG: Some rapid fire questions. Which teammate would you want on a desert island?
Knight: From here?
TIG: Anywhere, USA or Les Canadiennes.
Knight: That’s hard. That’s like two teams now.
TIG: Les Candiennes.
Knight: I picked Jill [Saulnier]. She’s super entertaining. I don’t know if we’d ever get off the island but at least we have fun being on it.
Knight: Oh boy. [long pause] Oh jeez. [long pause, again] That’s tough. Probably Hannah Brandt.
TIG: Would she help like survive on the island or just pass the time?
Knight: I think both. I mean she’s surprisingly extremely brilliant. But we do tend to goof off and have a really good time as well.
TIG: Who is your dream line mate? Past or present players.
Knight: Cammi Granato. She’s legendary. For the present, Marie Philip Poulin.
TIG: What’s your pump up song?
Knight: I didn’t even listen to music today! Anything Drake.
TIG: Favorite Chobani flavor.