Rookie Kimberly Newell is making headlines as the starting goalie for the women’s ice hockey team — she sits at second in saves in the ECAC with 492 this season. Last weekend at the International Ice Hockey Federation U18 Women’s World Championship in Finland, Newell saved 19 out of 20 shots in the championship game to win gold for Team Canada. She sat down with the ‘Prince’ to discuss playing with the boys, strange goals and heavy metal.
Q: Where are you from, and what is it like there?
A: I’m from Vancouver, B.C., in Canada, and I guess it rains a lot.
Q: When did you first start playing hockey? What are some of your most memorable or important hockey moments?
A: I started playing hockey when I was really young, so about four or five, and some of my most memorable hockey moments were in Peewee, when I won the provincial championships twice, and also in Bantam, [when I won] several big tournaments.
Q: If you didn’t play hockey, what sport would you play?
A: Probably field hockey.
Q: What was it like being the goalie for Canada in the IHFF U18 Women’s World Championship last week?
A: It was a fantastic experience. Just being able to play with the best girls in Canada was obviously a growing experience for me. And obviously winning gold there was a big step in my career and a big achievement.
Q: In the championship game, Canada was on the brink of losing to the United States before your teammate scored the tying goal with 12 seconds left. What did it feel like heading into overtime?
A: Well, the team was really elated and happy that we had scored just in the nick of time, but … our mental strength told us that we needed to calm down and regroup and refocus. Obviously just making sure I’m ready in overtime for whatever happens and doing my best.
Q: Your coach Jeff Kampersal was on the other side of the action, coaching the U.S. team. What was it like facing off against each other in such a big game?
A: It was kind of funny because we’re on opposing teams. But you don’t really think about it much during the game, and you just do your best, and it’s all in the name of good sport
Q: Did you say anything to each other before or after the game?
A: It was kind of like just silence.
Q: What’s the dirtiest play you have ever seen in ice hockey?
A: Well, I don’t know if it counts because it wasn’t during the game but after the game. I was playing on a boys’ team one time, and he socked a guy in the face. And then after that, it was kind of like a full-out bench brawl.
Q: You’ve played for a lot of boys’ teams. How different is it playing on a boys’ team as opposed to now at Princeton with the women?
A: Well, there’s a bit of a different dynamic in terms of how the guys interact with one another versus girls. For me, personally, I feel like I can connect better with the girls’ team — like I couldn’t connect with the guys’ team, them being guys and all that.
Q: What about the level of play?
A: It’s different in the way that girls’ hockey has a different feel to it. I don’t quite know how to explain it, but I feel like they make better plays and stuff, where guys play a bit more rough, obviously with the hitting involved.
Q: Have you ever lost a tooth?
A: No, thankfully not.
Q: Why Princeton?
A: I decided on Princeton because I wanted to have the best education that I possibly could get and also play hockey at a high level. I also loved the campus and just felt that it was a good fit for me.
Q: What is the last book you read?
A: Probably Machiavelli for my writing seminar.
Q: What’s the best class that you’ve taken at Princeton so far?
A: My freshman seminar [Exploring Human Genomes in Future Human Beings] — I liked that one a lot. It was pretty fun, and I learned a lot of new things; it was an interesting subject.
Q: If you could trade places with any other person for a day, with whom would it be?
A: I think I would trade places with [Team Canada goalie] Shannon Szabados [to] see what it would be like to be an Olympian … and she plays on a guys’ team at a school in Alberta.
Q: Do you have a ritual you go through before you hit the ice?
A: Yes. Well, it’s not too strict, but I do have a general routine that I try to stick to as much as possible. It generally consists of you get to the rink, get dressed in your warm-up stuff, tape my stick — I always tape my stick before every game. And then I do a ball routine, so I have, like, tennis balls and racquet balls and stuff like that — I just juggle and bounce them off the wall into my glove. And then on the ice I have my routine … to just kind of warm me up and go through all the big goalie movements.
Q: Are you superstitious at all?
A: I used to be. I used to have to fill my water bottle with bottled spring water because I couldn’t drink any other water, and no one could touch my bottle! But I’m okay now.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not playing hockey?
A: Probably just hanging out with friends.
Q: What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened during a game?
A: Well, it’d probably have to be some of the strange goals that I’ve had scored on me. One comes to mind. It was a point shot from one side of the ice, and [the puck] hit someone and went to the other side of the ice and hit someone and then came back and went into the net. And here I am standing on this side and the puck’s coming in on that side … so it was like, “What’s happening?”
Q: Are you involved on any other groups on campus?
A: Well, before Christmas I just started up aikido because I really love martial arts. It’s pretty fun to do.
Q: If you were stranded on a island what three things would you bring?
A: I’d probably bring my hockey stick, a Zamboni to make some ice and some skates to play some hockey while I’m waiting.
Q: What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
A: Probably my dad when I was having a bit of trouble in the past. He used to tell me, “It’s really simple! All you have to do is watch the puck. If you see the puck, you can stop it. It’s that simple.” And I was like, “Wow, you’re a genius, Dad.”
Q: Is it that simple in real life?
A: No! But it helps thinking about it like that. You just need to watch the puck, try to keep it simple.
Q: Who is the quirkiest member of your team?
A: Oh, that’d be a difficult one just because the team is very interesting. I’d say probably [junior] Olivia Mucha. She’s a funny girl.
Q: What’s your team’s relationship like with the men’s hockey team?
A: I’d say the relationship is good. We both like hockey.
Q: If you were your coach for a day, what would you do?
A: Well, I’d probably play me in every single game! Yes, lots of ice time!
Q: What could be found on your pump-up playlist?
A: Recently I discovered Skillet — which is a kind of raw, heavy-metal-ish band. So I really like rock, that sort of stuff, to pump me up before games, so that’s the band I’ve been listening to recently.
Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: Right now, probably “Bridesmaids” because I just watched it recently on the plane ride back [from Finland].
Q: If you could change anything about women’s ice hockey, what would you change?
A: I’d probably add hitting in. Just because I think it would make it a lot more exciting, a lot more competitive too.
Q: Do you ever miss playing ice hockey with the boys’ teams?
A: Sometimes. I mean, I played with them for most of my life, and there’s some things that I miss. But, I mean, coming here to Princeton and playing for the women’s team, I gained different things, and so I feel like I’m more excited looking forward.
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2013/01/09/32248/