31 October, 2013

Legendary Liz Knox Brings Her World Class Goaltending Game Down Under

Over the last decade, one of the most accomplished women’s ice hockey goaltenders in Canada is Liz Knox. Heading into the 2013-14 hockey season, Australian hockey fans will get the opportunity to be spoiled by her remarkable hockey talents. 

Her hockey resume reads like very few between the pipes. From winning the Brodrick Trophy with the accomplished Laurier Golden Hawks, it was the highlight of a sparkling season in Canadian Interuniversity Sport. Stints with the Canadian National Team included a gold medal win at the World Winter University Games. Perhaps more impressive was the fact that she became the first rookie netminder to start in a championship game at the Clarkson Cup, helping to lead the Brampton Thunder to their second finals appearance in three seasons. 

With the opportunity to visit Australia as one of her lifelong interests, a planned trip would lead to a pleasant surprise. As Australia is building a women’s hockey presence, the existence of a league provided Knox with a new opportunity. 

“Australia has always been on my bucket list. Originally, I was planning to come for a couple of months and travel but when a fellow CWHL player messaged me letting me know there was an ice-hockey league down here, my options changed. Who would not want to be at the beach during the week and the rink on the weekends?”

In the last year, Australia has had some breakthrough moments in women’s hockey. National team member Alivia Del Basso became the first Aussie to compete at the NCAA Division I level in the United States. Playing for the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs program, Del Basso scored her first career NCAA goal on October 5, 2013, which was head coach Shannon Miller’s 350th career victory.

Georgia Moore, who has played with the National Team as a teenager became the first Australian-born player selected in the history of the CWHL Draft. Currently residing in Alberta, Moore also played women’s tackle football with the Okotoks Lady Outlawz of the Western Women’s Canadian Football League.

Ironically, skaters such as Del Basso and Moore have also competed for the famed women’s club. 

As Knox occupies the crease for the Melbourne Ice hockey club of the Australian Women’s Ice Hockey League, her expertise shall be of great benefit towards her teammates improving their game. Donning the same number she has worn throughout her distinguished career, #37, she is one of three Canadian imports with the club. Joining Knox are Maia Smith-Merovitz and Lindsey Audia, formerly of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Trojans. 

Besides an enriching hockey experience for Knox, the opportunity to explore a different part of the world brings with it discovery. 

“There have been so many amazing things that I have experienced since arriving in Australia. One of my best friends from home took some vacation time with me and we drove the pacific coast from Melbourne to Cairns.

We went humpback whale watching, fed kangaroos, went surfing, and snorkelled the Great Barrier Reef. Those adventures, mixed in with the amazing people that I have met through Melbourne Ice Women's Hockey, have made every step of this journey absolutely unforgettable.”

With the season opener for the Melbourne Ice on November 16, it shall mark an exciting new chapter in her storied career. Helping to make the Ice an instant contender for the title, it is somewhat fitting that Melbourne hosts the AWIHL league championships from March 1-2, 2014. It would come as no surprise to her Canadian fans if she helped the host team make an appearance in the event. 

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Knox’s tenure down under shall be the fact that the month of December has no snowfall. As the month represents summer in Australia, it will make for a unique hockey experience for her.  Although the climate may have represented some of the slight adjustments for Knox and her new experiences down under, the one aspect that has not changed is that Knox is a proven performer between the pipes. 

“There have definitely been some adjustments playing in Australia but for the most part the transition has been pretty easy. Other than wearing shorts to games and occasionally needing people to repeat their sentences, the hockey world is not unlike that of North America. However, December will be midseason and midsummer here, so I am interested to see what it will be like to head to the rink in that kind of heat.”

Image obtained from Melbourne Ice facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MelbourneIce

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