The Ducks announced via twitter last night that they will be welcoming a special guest to training camp on Friday:
.@Hilary_Knight will take part in a portion of the #NHLDucks practice before serving as a guest coach for the Lady Ducks.— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 2, 2014
Not only that, but Knight will be honored before the preseason game against San Jose on Saturday, dubbed 'Girls Play Hockey Night' and Ducks fans can get special discounted tickets to that game which include a meet and greet with the US Olympic standout. And that's only the beginning of a week long celebration of women and girls hockey in Southern California that the Ducks are participating in leading up to the IIHF's "World Girls Hockey Weekend" October 11-12, including Girls Try Hockey for Free Day at The Rinks on Oct 12.
In addition to silver medals at both the 2010 (where she was the youngest player on team USA) and 2014 Olympics, Knight had an incredible college career at Wisconsin. The Badgers made the National Championship Game in each of her four years there, winning both her sophomore and senior years. Individually she led the nation with 45 goals in that sophomore championship season. Since college she has gone on to play with the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women's Hockey League where she became the first American to be named MVP in 2013 and led the team to the Clarkson Cup Championship.
As a Ducks fan I'm really proud of the team for taking the IIHF concept of Girls' Hockey Weekend to another level. Anyone that listened to our olympic podcasts (here and here) can tell you that I was more upset and involved in the USA Canada Women's games than anything going on in the Men's tournament this February (even though "TJ Sochi" was pretty sweet). That gold medal game will still live on as one of the most heartbreaking ways to lose a game that I've ever seen.
So this is really great to see. The only issue that I have with it is that it probably won't get as much play as it deserves being in the preseason. But that's a matter of scheduling on the IIHF's part and with the CWHL which begins on Oct 18 (the day after the Ducks' home opener). But that's just all the more reason to go out and support the effort being put forward by the Ducks, the IIHF, The Rinks, the Lady Ducks and young girls/women everywhere who need and deserve encouragement to get involved in hockey and sports of all kinds.