Liz Knox vividly remembers the first time she saw Canada’s National Women’s
Seven years old, Knox watched the likes of Danielle Goyette, Cassie
Campbell and Kim St. Pierre power Canada to a dominant 8-1 victory over
China at the Kitchener Memorial Auditorium during the 2000 IIHF World
“That was enough for me to latch onto that dream of one day wanting to be
on the Olympic team,” Knox says.
Since that game 23 years ago, the Stouffville, Ont., native has had a
successful career as a goaltender, winning everywhere she played. In
university, she helped lead the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks to four
straight Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships . She won gold at
the 2011 Winter Universiade as a member of Team Canada and in 2018 captured
the Clarkson Cup with the Markham Thunder in the now-defunct Canadian
Women’s Hockey League (CWHL).
She also had a couple of chances to wear the Maple Leaf with Hockey Canada,
including a silver medal with Canada’s National Women’s Under-22 Team at
the 2009 MLP Cup and three appearances with Canada’s National Women’s Team.
As her playing career progressed, Knox found herself surrounded by
influential women who inspired her to find her voice and become a leader.
“From minor hockey coaches to Laurier where I had some great captains that
I looked up to and then at the CWHL, my first captain was Jayna Hefford, so
I was really put in an environment where I had great leaders to learn
from," says Knox, who ended her playing career in 2019. "As I aged and
found my footing in the sport, it was almost an unconscious thing where if
I wanted to get things done, I would be a part of it.”
During her time in the CWHL, Knox also served as the co-chair of the CWHLPA
and later became a founding board member of the Professional Women's Hockey
Players Association (PWHPA). In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic and Black
Lives Matter movement called for a time of reflection, Knox made the
decision to step down from the board, inviting Sarah Nurse to join and be
an influential voice.
“I wanted to make sure [Sarah Nurse] had a voice at the table,” says Knox.
“We’re really lucky to have her as an advocate for our sport and she’s also
doing so much outside of hockey, it would have been such a missed
opportunity if I hadn’t invited her."
Today, Knox does commentary during PWHPA Dream Gap Tour games, while
serving as an advisor to the PWHPA. Away from the rink, she is a
firefighter with the Town of Oakville, and if that wasn’t enough on her
plate, she along with long-time friend [and fellow Team Canada alumna]
Karell Emard, launched a podcast called The Knoxy & Kax Show on SDPN
“Before the last Olympic Games, [SDPN CEO] Adam Wylde came up to me and
said, ‘We want to do a women’s hockey podcast and I want you to be the
host,’ and it’s been so fun,” Knox says.
The podcast, which began as a partnership between SDPN and the PWHPA,
features some of the biggest names in women’s hockey sharing their stories
and experiences in and around the game. Past guests include familiar names
like Marie-Philip Poulin, Jocelyne Larocque, Sarah Nurse, Emily Clark and
“There’s a huge learning curve but what a cool opportunity to hear from
these players, hear about their journey and help people understand why what
we are is so important,” says Knox.
“After two seasons, we’re doing it on the fly and feeding off each other,” Emard says. “When Liz and I were playing, we never had a chance to see and get to know our idols, so I think it’s super important for our listeners to listen to not just national players, but professional players too, so they can hear different stories and that there is more to achieve."
"For too long, we’ve judged our career on whether or not we made the national team, but a very successful career is also playing professional and being successful within those leagues.”
In addition to hosting a podcast and her work with the PWHPA, Liz Knox is also a firefighter with the Town of Oakville. (Photo supplied)
Inspiring the next generation
Through events like the recently completed Rivalry Series and 2023 IIHF
Women’s World Championship next month in Brampton, Ont., Knox hopes the
added exposure to women’s hockey brings new fans and athletes to the sport.
“It’s representation and the fact you can see yourself in that person out
there,” says Knox. “Now, you get to see people like Sarah Nurse, like
Cassie Campbell, all these incredible people and you see them crushing
these goals on the ice or on national broadcasts, in a space that hasn’t
traditionally welcomed them. It’s going to invite and inspire more dreams,
more people and young athletes to chase those dreams.
“The more inclusive we make this space, the more we will learn about
ourselves and each other and make for some fun hockey to consume.”
As women’s hockey continues to expand and grow, Emard has no doubt that Knox will continue to play a big role in leading the way.
“She’s always been the voice of the players,” Emard says. “The players are very trusting of her and I hope she keeps doing it because we all feel like we are in good hands when she is around.”