Playing with the prodigious Tamber Tisdale, the story of Carleton Ravens goaltender Eri Kiribuchi is one defined by the love of hockey. Hailing from Japan, her love of the game was sparked by the events of the 1998 Nagano Winter Games.
“I watched the men’s ice hockey final and was inspired by the Czech Republic’s performance in the finals. They played the best hockey, and I wanted to play in that country.” The no. 98 on her jersey pays homage to the events of Nagano.
From playing boys hockey in the Czech Republic, her remarkable journey brought her to Toronto. She honed her skills at the World Hockey Center in Toronto, while playing for a team known as the Rattlers. “I always wanted to play the best hockey. I played on a boys team back home but could not play after the age of 17. I switched to women’s hockey and played two years of high school hockey in Toronto.”
The desire to compete at the best level of hockey would extend to NCAA Division I. Once again, Kiribuchi would find herself competing in a renowned hockey hotbed: the state of Minnesota.
“I played for a year and a half at Bemidji State. I was the backup to Zuzana Tomcikova. She came from Slovakia and she was so good. I did not have the chance to play [regularly].”
Despite Bemidji State not yielding desired results, Kiribuchi is quick to recognize the devotion to hockey in Minnesota. “It is extra cold there,” she joked. “Everything there is about hockey.”
Before joining the Carleton Ravens, Kiribuchi thought her career would find its way back to Toronto.
“I had committed to York University but it did not work out. Dan Church was the head coach at York. He contacted [Ravens head coach] Shelley Coolidge and she contacted me afterwards.”
With Carleton University, she is majoring in sports management. Her first game with the Ravens was in autumn of 2010, in which she earned a shutout versus the Toronto Lady Blues. Another highlight of her Ravens career came on October 12, 2012 when she was the starting goaltender in a 6-3 upset of the cross-town Ottawa Gee Gees, during their home opener.
While she has found a home with the Carleton Ravens, Kiribuchi still has an eye on the Czech Republic.
“I am trying to make the Czech National women’s team. I want to qualify and work towards that.”
Although Kiribuchi cannot imagine a life without hockey, she already has ambitions as to what she would like to accomplish after she stops playing. “I would love to run a hockey academy. One day, I would also love to be a women’s hockey player agent.”
Talented and bright, Kiribuchi has spanned the globe working towards making her hockey dreams come true.
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated.”