The last time the United States won gold in women’s Olympic hockey, it was at Nagano in 1998 and Bill Clinton was president.
But even as the Far East again proved lucky for the American women, who beat rival Canada 3-2 in a shootout in Pyeongchang, one member of the team had far greater deeds to do than hang around for the post-medal-ceremony party.
After Hilary Knight got her medal and stood for the national anthem, she headed out to play hockey with some young children at a nearby rink.
Two thousand words’ worth of pictures tell the story:
Lots of great images from the #Olympics2018 but seeing @HilaryKnight sneak out of the Team USA gold celebration to play hockey with kids on a neighboring rink ranks right up there (yep that’s a gold medal hanging around her neck). pic.twitter.com/2KS1a9mQZD
— Luke Bodensteiner (@LukeBode_) February 24, 2018
And oh by the way, Knight had her gold medal around her neck, a piece of gilded bling that would put curling fan Mr. T to shame.
In essence, what we’ve got here is a case of paying it forward. The young girls playing hockey in the 1990s are the adults of today winning Olympic gold.
Knight, born on July 12, 1989, was just 8 years old when that Nagano team won gold.
She came up through the ranks at the University of Wisconsin and has played professionally in Boston for various women’s teams since finishing college in 2012.
In Olympic competition, Knight was on both silver-medal-winning American teams in 2010 and 2014, both times losing the final game to Canada.
This year? Revenge is oh so very sweet, and the Canucks get to cry in their maple syrup while Knight plays hockey with the next generation of girls strapping on the pads and the skates and getting to work.
In 10 years of competition, Knight’s teams have finished either first or second at every World Championship or Olympics; she stands alongside the likes of Cammi Granato as one of the greatest women’s hockey players in American history.
Knight has skated with the Anaheim Ducks before, and they were quick to acknowledge her and congratulate her on her Olympic gold:
We always knew you were golden, @HilaryKnight!
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) February 22, 2018
Although if she’s going to skate with the men in the NHL, Anaheim might not be the right place for her. Maybe she belongs in Las Vegas.
After all, she just became a Golden Knight.
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