Player's Own Voice

Player's Own Voice podcast: American great Hilary Knight helps launch a league

Hilary Knight, world and Olympic champion, captain of Team USA, discusses the historic creation and looming debut of the Professional Women's Hockey League.

Hockey legend sizes up the inaugural PWHL season ahead

USA forward Hilary Knight holds the cup as she celebrates victory with teammates after IIHF Women's World Hockey Championship gold metal hockey action against Canada in Brampton, Ont., on Sunday, April 16, 2023
U.S. forward Hilary Knight, centre, celebrates the women's world championship trophy with teammates against Canada on April 16, 2023 in Brampton, Ont. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Player's Own Voice podcast is back with a bang. Season seven of Anastasia Bucsis' long-running passion project kicks off with Hilary Knight, captain of the U.S. national hockey team, world and Olympic champion, the face of the American women's game, and from a Canadian perspective, public '"frenemy" No. 1.

Knight dekes around all the old Can-Am rivalry talk and focuses instead on the game-changing debut of the Professional Women's Hockey League, which will begin play in January.

She was instrumental in the process that finally landed a fully professional environment for the best of the best in women's hockey. The on-ice action deserves all the attention, but from her vantage point inside the negotiations, Knight has plenty to say about the many elements that have been pulled together for the good of the game.

Wages, health insurance (which is especially critical for American players), proper facilities, home and away accommodations, training, fitness and medical staffing, it is a long and heartening list of wins for the PWHL player's association. 

Excited as Knight is for the inaugural season, and confident as she is that her Boston team will be heading to the championship, it is the second year that she's really looking forward to. The coming intake of new, young, top talent into the established league? That's what it's all about for the veteran leader.

And just in case those subjects seem too wholesome to be entertaining, Bucsis also questions Knight on her well-earned reputation for pulling pranks. We won't spoil the punchline, but most of her teammates have learned never to follow Knight into a bidet-equipped washroom.

As the PWHL inches closer to that historic first puck drop, there's no better way to get a feel for the personalities who are driving the women's game to greatness on this continent.

There are transcripts of our podcasts for a hard-of-hearing audience. To listen to Hilary Knight or any of the guests from earlier seasons, go to CBC Listen or wherever else you get your podcasts.

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