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CWHL Hockey Heroes Cheverie and Knox Suit up for Team Italia

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At the 2015 World Street Hockey Championships in Zug, Switzerland, a unique moment involved the opportunity for a pair of CWHL heroes to participate with Team Italia. Although they are rivals in CWHL play, the Toronto Furies’ Kori Cheverie and Brampton Thunder’s Liz Knox unified their efforts with the Italian squad, a sign of mutual respect between the two.

One of Cheverie’s greatest moments in CWHL play occurred when she helped the Toronto Furies capture the 2014 Clarkson Cup, which was Toronto’s first major hockey championship since the 1975 Memorial Cup. Knox had her own brush with Cup history, becoming the first rookie to start a Clarkson Cup championship game in 2012.

Another common thread between the two is their heroics in Canadian Interuniversity Sport hockey. In 2010, Knox would capture the Broderick Trophy, awarded to the Most Outstanding Player in CIS women’s hockey. Cheverie was a multiple winner of the Atlantic University Sport conference version of the Marion Hilliard Award, recognizing charitable work and leadership.

Having known each other since their teenage years, both are not only part of a Wednesday night ball hockey league in the GTA, they have also donated their time for fundraising events with another GTA women’s hockey group, The Women of Winter. Playing together for Team Italia, Knox enjoyed the opportunity to call Cheverie a teammate.

“Playing with Chev was such a blast. We have known and played against each other since high school but this was the first time we got to suit up in the same jersey. She’s an awesome teammate and an incredible person off the ice. The trip would not have been the same without her.”

The chance to share in the team experience with Knox for the first time ever also represented a special career milestone for Cheverie. Although the CWHL All-Star Game may present another opportunity to be teammates in the near future, playing together for Team Italia shall always stand as a treasured time,

“It was awesome to experience playing for Team Italia with Liz Knox – her and I had never played on a team together before this tournament, we have always played against each other.

She is an amazing teammate and I am so glad we were both asked to take part in such an amazing experience. It is safe to say that we have become great friends but I will be looking forward to playing against her this fall when the Toronto Furies take on the Brampton Thunder!” 

For Knox, the chance to play with Team Italia represented another treasured milestone in her career. From the chance to stand between the pipes for the Canadian national women’s ice hockey team at the Twelve Nations Cup to winning an ice hockey championship in Australia, Knox has assembled an impressive body of work as a world class goaltender.

With regards to street hockey (also known as ball hockey), Knox shows her remarkable versatility by competing on defense. As Cheverie and Knox both call the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) home, it would bring them in touch with the Italian contingent, as Knox explains,

“I am so grateful that the opportunity came up to play for Team Italia. The team is mostly made up of second generation Italians so the bulk of the team plays out of Toronto. After a few people on the original roster had to drop out due to unforeseen health issues, the coaching staff approached Kori and me to fill the spots.”

Although Cheverie’s experience in ball hockey is not as extensive as her familiarity on the ice, an encounter proved to be a turning point, adding an exciting new dimension to her hockey career overall,

“I have only been in the ball hockey world for the past 3 years so I am fairly new to the sport. I met Flora Fioccola (Italian General Manager) last summer and we became friends right away. A month before the competition, she approached me at our Wednesday night ball hockey league and asked if Liz Knox and I would be interested in coming to Switzerland with Team Italia. I could not pass up the opportunity!”

Competing on a line with former Harvard Crimson scoring superstar, Nicole Corriero (who holds the NCAA records for most goals scored in one season and most game winning goals in a career), Cheverie’s play-making skills complemented her well. The result was Corriero finishing in the top ten in tournament scoring.

Statistically, Cheverie accumulated three points. Of note, she scored a second period goal in a 6-2 triumph against Switzerland, the first victory in the tournament for Team Italia. During that game, Knox also logged a point, assisting on a power play goal  scored by Annalisa Mazzarello. In a 3-1 victory against Great Britain, Cheverie earned an assist on Nicole Corriero’s second period goal, while she lit the lamp in the third period.

Approximately half of the Italian team’s roster was composed of Canadian-born players with Italian heritage, such as Corriero. Of note, team captain Christina D’Ambrogio was another proud member of the Italian-Canadian community donning Team Italia’s colors. The Canadian connection resulted in a memorable experience for Cheverie,

“It was amazing to be over there with other Canadians. We spent almost every waking hour together as a team, sight seeing, exploring caves and beer markets, and organizing large team meals in the hallway of our hotel!”

During international events, such opportunities for teambuilding prove to be one of the most rewarding aspects. Knox recounts how a moment of spontaneity resulted in a moment of fun that was treasured by teammates,

“On one of our days off, we spontaneously rented a handful of paddle boats and took to the lake in Zug. The setting was gorgeous.”

Such sentiments were shared by Cheverie as well, “My favorite non-competition moment was when we rented paddle boats, as a team, and spent the afternoon on Lake Zug. I had never experienced such beautiful scenery up close and personal. We brought music on to the water and took a lot of pictures, including a 5-boat selfie with the mountains in the background.”

Having never been to Switzerland before, the chance to visit another part of the world was very rewarding for Cheverie. During her time there, she also had the chance to meet another goaltender who once stood between the pipes for the Brampton Thunder.

Florence Schelling, one of the most accomplished goaltenders in the world, earned a bronze medal in women’s ice hockey at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. During the 2012-13 CWHL season, Schelling and Knox comprised the Thunder’s goaltending duo.

Of note, their season culminated with a match against Cheverie’s Furies in the third place game of the Clarkson Cup playoffs. A native of Switzerland, Schelling hosted several hockey players during a dinner, including Knox and Cheverie. Coincidentally, Team Italia’s first game of the event occurred against host country Switzerland, providing Cheverie with one of her favorite moments,

“I had a lot of favorite moments at the tournament – I had never been to Switzerland so it was an amazing experience. I would say my favorite in game moment was winning our first game against team Switzerland near the beginning of the tournament. I felt so happy for our team and proud to play for Team Italy, the moment was surreal.

Our team came together so quickly over there, I couldn’t have asked for a better group to play with. We made so much progress throughout the tournament that losing in our final game was bittersweet. I think we deserved a better outcome but we accomplished a lot as a team and we will only get better moving forward.”

Team Italia’s experience in Zug went full circle as their final game also occurred against Switzerland. Although the Swiss managed to prevail in the fifth place game, it could not overshadow the remarkable lifetime of memories accumulated by Cheverie and Knox. The new friendships forged were both rewarding and exciting, while helping establish these two remarkable women as ambassadors for both the CWHL and the game’s growth, Knox expresses the positive outcome of the experience.

“I have to say that the most standout part of the trip was the girls and the staff. Everyone got along so well and I felt like part of the family since day one. I am so grateful to have met this group of young women and to have had the support of our coaching and administrative staff. As we say, una famiglia!”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Images obtained from: http://zug2015.com/en/teams/women/group-5/ita-italy/

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