In the almost 20 years William Knibbs played professional hockey, his skills took him from small town Ontario, to big city USA and on to Salzburg, Austria.
Along the way, the six-foot-one, 180-pound, left-handed centre worried opposition goaltenders across many different time zones.
Born in Toronto in 1942, Knibbs began his career with the Barrie Flyers in 1959.
In the first of the three seasons, he played in the Ontario Hockey Association, Junior A Hockey League, Knibbs collected 14 goals and 39 points in 48 games. The following year he played 48 games with the Niagara Falls Flyers collecting 57 points. In 1961-1962, Bill’s last year with the Flyers, he scored another 62 points and was named most-valuable player.
In 1962-1963, Knibbs was a member of the Eastern Professional Hockey League championship team, the Kingston Frontenacs. He then moved south of the border to play two seasons with the Minneapolis Bruins of the Central Professional Hockey League (CPHL).
In 1964-1965, Knibbs caught his big break, jumping to the National Hockey League where he played 53 games with the Boston Bruins, netting seven goals and 17 total points, while taking only two minor penalties.
Between 1965 and 1970, Knibbs continued to play professional hockey, suiting up with both the Baltimore Clippers and Buffalo Bisons of the American Hockey League. In 1969-1970, Knibbs helped lead Buffalo to a Calder Cup championship title.
The 1970-1971 season began with the Seattle Totems of the Western Hockey league and ended with the league championship-winning Omaha Knights of the Central Hockey League. He finished his North American professional hockey career in 1975, playing for the Providence Reds (1971-1973) and Rochester Americans (1973-1975) of the American Hockey League.
His final season of professional hockey was played in Salzberg, Austria.
Following his playing career, Knibbs gave back to the sport of hockey, volunteering to coach teams at the local level. From 1976-1978, he coached teams in the Coldwater Minor Hockey Association and, in the 1990s, teams in the Midland Minor Hockey Association (MMHA).
A rural resident, Knibbs would often invite his players and their parents out to his farm, where he built a large rink for the boys to play shinny.
The list of championship teams coached by Knibbs is a lengthy one including the 1990-1991 MMHA bantam team; the 1992-1993 Midland pee-wee squad that had a division final appearance at the International Silver Stick Tournament, a Georgian Bay Local League title and a Winterama Invitational Hockey Tournament crown; the 1994-1995 bantam team that won its first Ontario Minor Hockey Association championship in 17 years; and the 1995-1996 MMHA midget team that had an appearance in the OMHA finals.
His dedication and commitment to hockey was recognized in 1994-1995, when Knibbs was the recipient of Coach-of-the-Year honours.
Bill is also involved in oldtimers hockey, serving as a playing coach for the Midland team.