There was some winter and a little skating over the years, in the iconic Connecticut based TV series the Gilmore Girls, but not much hockey. To be fair, Luke did actually build a small rink for Lorelei and there was an episode called “ Face Off” with a hockey game as backdrop for one of Rory’s epiphanies. But Cetacean Nation thinks the show would have benefitted from the addition of a different kind of Gilmour Girl, one who plays hockey. The Whale certainly agreed that adding a Gilmour Girl was a good idea for the Pod, and did just that. So Fins Up and welcome, to our rookie defender: #5 Kim Tiberi, the newest Gilmour Girl in Connecticut. Understanding of course, that the Gilmour in Kim’s case refers to Gilmour Academy, a boarding and day school in Gates Mill, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland.
When Cetacean Nation chatted with Kim recently, she revealed that she played a variety of sports as a youngster. Those sports included neighborhood football and baseball, travel soccer and even a year of lacrosse, in addition to her hockey. So how does a young girl playing youth sports in Indiana became a woman playing professional hockey for the Whale in Connecticut? Kim took us back to her roots in the sport to begin the story of her journey. Kim told us “ My brother and I both got our first set of (hockey) equipment for Christmas one year, I was 6 and he was 4; we were kind of born into a hockey family as my dad played hockey at Notre Dame. Growing up in Indiana there was no girls hockey, so I always played with the boys. Girls hockey didn’t really start in Indiana until I was in high school, but that wasn’t nearly as competitive as I was used to with the boys. I eventually reached a point where I switched to play AAA girls hockey for the Ohio Flames and practiced with local boys high school teams. My senior year of high school, my family relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina.” Here is where Gilmour Academy came into the picture. Kim explained “ As North Carolina is not necessarily a hockey hotbed and wouldn’t get me where I wanted to be, I spent my senior year at Gilmour Academy in Ohio playing prep hockey and finishing my high school education. My experience at Gilmour was amazing and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. The moment I stepped on campus I felt the family-like atmosphere and loved how the community was so welcoming to me, even if just for a year.”
We asked Kim about how her experience at Gilmour and with her club team, the AAA Ohio Stars, helped take her hockey and education to the next level. Kim explained “Playing AAA and hockey at Gilmour, I was fortunate to have been exposed to many coaches at tournaments and through the online game broadcasts. .I had a friend who played hockey at Elmira College who actually recommended Norwich and a few other schools to me that she thought I should check out. Once I went online and looked at philosophies Norwich had and that they had the major I wanted, I was sold. From that moment on, I got in contact with Coach Bolding and Sophie Leclerc and eventually was offered a spot to verbally commit there”
Kim had a stellar career playing for the Norwich Cadets, achieving both great personal and team success on the ice. An offensively skilled blueliner with a right-handed shor, Kim tallied 19 goals and 57 assists over her career at Norwich. The Whale could make good use of those offensive skills at the power play point. Kim, Dean’s List student-athlete was selected three times as as New England Hockey Conference Academic All-American. She also was honored twice as a first team selection for both both the All-NEHC team, and the United States College Hockey (USCHO) All- Star team, and was selected her.junior year as New England Hockey Writers Association DII/DIII Player of the Year. During Kim’s career at Norwich,, the Cadets had two second place finishes in the NCAA Championships, and won the tournament in her senior season. Kim related “I was fortunate to have made many memories while playing hockey at Norwich, it is extremely difficult to choose just one as a favorite. My all-time favorite would have to be winning the National Championship my senior year at Kreitzberg Arena, our home rink. The whole weekend was filled with so many emotions. The stands were packed with the team’s family and friends and loyal fans from the community - it was phenomenal. Playing at our home rink in the National Championship in front of a sold out crowd was pretty special - not to mention winning my very last game wearing a Norwich jersey. Unforgettable.”
Cetacean Nation also asked Kim about her at Sports Medicine and Health Science Major at Norwich and she gave us these thoughts. “Growing up I had always thought about going into the health field one day; whether it would be sports-centered orthopedics, chiropractic or Physician Assistant, I didn’t know. I was able to expand my major and get minors in both biology and coaching while at Norwich which allowed me to get a taste of a few other aspects of what I was interested in. Although I’m still interested in pursuing something in the health career path, I am coaching at Boston’s Suffolk University women’s hockey team’s inaugural season! Upon graduation, I applied for many coaching jobs across the east coast and a few in the midwest. I knew immediately once I heard about the Suffolk job that was where I wanted to be as I have so many connections around there as well as the proximity to Norwich. “
Kim continued to talk about her coaching position at Suffolk. “Being able to coach this year haas also given me the opportunity to play in the NWHL. One of my friends and former teammates #9 Kaycie Anderson told me that I should play, so have to give her some credit in talking me into it. I basically sent my hockey resume to Coach Equale, we talked for a little bit and he sent me a contract to play for the Whale! By that time, I already knew Kaycie and Sarah Schwenzfeier were signed and playing there this season, so it was exciting knowing that us three would get to play together for another year. I also knew a few others that had signed, the Plattsburgh girls (Meneghin and Sheeran). We know each other from playing against each other throughout our careers, so that was equally as exciting knowing I’d get to play with them this time around. “ Cetacean Nation had noted previously that this familiarity among several of the Whale rookies, with each other and some of the veterans, is a formula that will help team chemistry develop quickly. And now Kim has become part of that equation as well.
In closing, we asked Kim about her choice of number, and she told us “ I have always worn a jersey that has had a number 5 in it, ever since I was a kid. Whether it was soccer, hockey or lacrosse I always had worn 55 or 5. Eventually 55 changed to 5 and I was lucky enough to get that number with Gilmour, Norwich and now the Whale.” Kim concluded our chat with these remarks “ I’m very thankful to have been given this opportunity to play in the NWHL this year. I’m forever grateful to my supportive family for pushing and encouraging me up to this point in my life. I’d also like to give thanks to my teammates and coaches throughout my time at Norwich, I definitely would not be the person or player I am today without their help along the way. “ Cetacean Nation thanks our #5 Kim Tiberi for her thoughtful input, and is excited to see her bring that championship experience to the Whale. Fins Up to Connecticut’s new favorite Gilmour Girl!