U.S. hockey legend Hilary Knight is the first recipient of the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Female Player of the Year award.
Knight, 33, led the U.S. women’s national team to a gold medal at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Brampton, Ontario, leading all players with eight goals. She scored three goals in the championship game against Canada, including the game winner — the third time Knight has scored the game-winning goal in a gold-medal win.
It was the 10th IIHF gold for U.S. women’s hockey. Knight has been on the team for nine of those, tying her with Canada’s Danielle Goyette for most in a career. She’s also tied with Canada’s Hayley Wickenheiser for most total women’s worlds medals at 13. Both Goyette and Wickenheiser are in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Knight, who is an analyst for ESPN, also became the first woman to reach 100 career points in the tournament.
The IIHF is handing out player of the year awards for the first time in 2023, with the men’s award scheduled for later this month.
Players must have competed in at least one IIHF tournament at any level during the year (Olympics, World Championship, U20 or U18 event) as well as in a domestic league of the highest level for that country. Knight played on the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association tour.
Voting for the award was done by media representing 16 countries (70%) and members of the IIHF family (30%).