Hilary Knight passes Hayley Wickenheiser for women’s world hockey championship record

Hilary Knight of USA after the IIHF World Championship Woman's ice hockey match between USA and Hungary in Herning, Denmark, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. (Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

U.S. forward Hilary Knight set a record for all-time career points in the women’s world hockey championship Thursday, and she’s not done adding to it.

Knight’s goal and assist in a 12-1 quarterfinal win over Hungary gave her 87 points to surpass Canadian forward Hayley Wickenheiser’s previous mark of 86.

“I understand how big an accolade it is, so all I can say is it’s really an honour,” Knight said.

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention I play with the best players in the world night in and night out when we suit up for the U.S. team. To be able to play with other individuals, and the creativity and competitiveness, it keeps you going.”

READ MORE: U.S. wins 5-2 over Canada in women’s world hockey

The 33-year-old from Sun Valley, Idaho, added to her all-time tournament goalscoring record with her career 51st.

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Knight broke that record previously held by former U.S. captain Cammi Granato (44) during last year’s world championship in Calgary.

After what appeared to be a record-clinching second assist of the second period, Knight was mobbed by her teammates near the U.S. bench in celebration.

Scorers eventually assigned one of her assists to a teammate later in the game, but Knight’s goal early in the third period ensured the record was hers.

Knight was presented with a plaque and a commemorative jersey post-game.

A tribute video was also shown on the arena’s video screen at centre ice.

“What Hilary Knight means on and off the ice for the game of hockey is indescribable. This milestone is just another part of that,” U.S. captain Kendall Coyne Schofield said.

“You want to talk about the number. The one thing you don’t see is the consistency of work that Hilary Knight puts in day in and day out away from this tournament on her own, just the grind.

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“There’s a reason she’s able to do what she’s doing at this age and this level in her 12th tournament. I know there’s a lot of hockey left in number 21.”

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Knight’s parents and brother in Herning, Denmark, to witness her history-making game meant a lot to Knight because the COVID-19 pandemic had prevented them from attending what little competition there was over the last two years.

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“We haven’t had family at tournaments for a really long time,” Knight said.

“You kind of take it for granted that your family’s always going to be there. To have an experience where they’re not such as the Olympics and the world championships before, this one meant more just because they were there.”

She’s won seven world championships and an Olympic gold medal in 2018 during her 16-year career with the U.S. women.

Knight has four goals and three assists in five games for unbeaten U.S. heading into Saturday’s semifinals.

“We’re mid-tournament right, so you have to focus on that,” Knight said. “At the end of the day, we want to win another world championship.”

Hilary Knight of the United States, number 2, in action with Alexandra Huszak and Taylor Baker of Hungary during The IIHF World Championship Woman’s ice hockey match between USA and Hungary in Herning, Denmark, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. (Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix via AP)

She passed two Hockey Hall of Famers on the all-time points list during the tournament as Canada’s Jayna Hefford ranked second with 83.

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Wickenheiser appeared in 13 world championship and Hefford in 12.

“They’re tremendous for the sport. Pioneers,” Knight said.

“I remember vividly Wickenheiser hopping over our blue-line and just sniping top shelf in one of the tournaments and thinking ‘who is that? I want to be just like that,’ but the American version, right?”

READ MORE: Hayley Wickenheiser inducted into Hockey Hall of Fame

Knight counts her overtime goal to win the 2017 world championship in Plymouth, Mich., among her career highlights.

The host team had threatened to boycott its own tournament in an effort to gain more financial and competitive support from USA Hockey.

The Americans succeeded in that and then beat Canada 3-2 in the final on Knight’s OT winner.

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“Just what we accomplished off ice, on ice, it was sort of that Disney book ending to it to the tournament,” Knight said.

“That was a special one. Blocking a shot, kicking it to Kendall, Kendall driving and creating space for me. I could fill in that nice pocket and to beat a great goaltender, that always feels good.”

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