One of the worldliest individuals to grace the frozen surface of Carleton’s Ice House, Eri Kiribuchi brought valor and determination to every contest. Sharing goaltending duties with Tamber Tisdale, this dynamic duo always provided the proud Ravens with a chance to win.
Her love of the game spawned from the 1998 Nagano Winter Games, held in her native Japan. Watching Dominik Hasek lead an underdog Czech Republic team to the gold medal inspired her to follow in his glorious footsteps. The number 98 which adorned her Ravens jersey was testament to such devotion.
In a young career that took her from Japan to Czech Republic, followed by a one-year stint with the NCAA’s Bemidji State Beavers, it was inevitable that her hockey journey would bring her to the hockey hotbed of Ontario, Canada. Standing between the pipes for coach Shelley Coolidge and the Carleton Ravens in Ottawa, it followed a brief stint where she played club hockey in Toronto.
For her senior night with the Ravens, she had the opportunity to serve as the starting goaltender against the visiting Montreal Carabins. In discussing her emotions before the game, Kiribuchi was stoic in her reflections,
“I brought the same mentality today like I do for every game. I came out as I always do. There were a lot of friends that came to watch me play. I wish I had a better game than this (the Ravens were bested by the Carabins). I was happy that people were there.”
Although the Ravens missed the postseason in 2014, Kiribuchi’s final season, she always provided a valiant effort. In a program that featured over a dozen freshmen, the season of transition resulted in many heartbreaking losses. Through it all, Kiribuchi remained positive, commenting on how the season still paid dividends,
“This season, it was huge for me. I got to play a lot. It showed what I have to do every day in order for hard work to pay off. It was a big reason for me to keep playing. I will miss my teammates. The coaches and staff helped me and made me so much better. I will miss that.”
Of the current members of the Ravens support staff, Sara Seiler is one that competed in international hockey and holds a positive influence on Kiribuchi. One of the team’s leaders when Kiribuchi arrived, Seiler remained with the Ravens after her playing tenure. Currently serving as one of the team’s trainers, Seiler was a constant reminder of why Kiribuchi continued to play the game. Having played for her native Germany at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, it is a path that Kiribuchi hopes to emulate in the future.
“(Sara and I) are pretty good friends. She motivates me to keep working hard. I want to be like her. She keeps playing well and I am very proud.”
While Kiribuchi closes the chapter on her university career, her fire for the game is not ready to be extinguished. Taking into account that she played in the Czech Republic, along with her Japanese citizenry, she possesses international ambitions that she hopes can be fulfilled.
“For sure I want to keep playing,” Kiribuchi replied convincingly. “I hope to make the Olympics (in 2018). Whether with Japan or the Czech Republic. I just want to make the Olympics, it des not matter what country.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”