Kimberly Newell was the fifth and final pick of the New York Riveters during the 2015 NWHL Draft. She is a 5’9″ goaltender with quick legs and good lateral movement. Her play has improved with each year of college hockey, culminating in an outstanding senior campaign.
Newell was one of just three goaltenders taken in the small NWHL draft class of 2015. The other two goalies drafted, Emerance Maschmeyer and Amanda Leveille of Minnesota, might be more recognizable names in women’s hockey, but Newell established herself as one of North America’s best goaltending prospects through four seasons as the Tigers’ starter.
Newell became the winningest netminder in the history of women’s hockey at Princeton University thanks to over 3,000 saves and an 18-8-2 senior year. As a senior Newell posted a 1.87 goals against average and an outstanding 93.7 save percentage, numbers that were almost identical to those those team Canada standout Maschmeyer carried with Harvard in her senior year.
While serving as the backbone to the Tigers’ successful 2015-16 season, the 2013 gold medal winner with Canada’s U-18 team earned player of the week honors from the American Sports Network in February. She was also named the ECAC goaltender of the month for January thanks to making 77 saves and allowing just two goals in three victories for the Tigers.
Newell’s exceptional senior year came to an end with a defeat in the NCAA quarterfinals in a decisive defeat to the Minnesota Gophers.
A native of Canada, Newell already has some roots down in the greater New York City area thanks to an internship and her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. Whether or not she will consider continuing her hockey career in the NWHL remains to be seen and likely depends on if she can find a job in or near the city.
If Newell does join the Riveters this offseason as either a contracted goaltender or as a practice player, she would be a tremendous addition to the Riveters and possibly even an improvement over the netminders New York had in the NWHL’s inaugural season.
As the starting goaltender with the Tigers, Newell faced an average of 29.4 shots per game in her senior year and allowed four or more goals just once in regulation time (against the eventual champion Minnesota Gophers).
It’s no secret that the Riveters goaltenders faced a heavy workload in 2015-16 and saw an almost unfathomable amount of high quality scoring chances against. Newell showed at Princeton that she can handle a heavy workload and give her team a chance to win on any given night while weathering the storm.
Whether or not Newell would be a better option as the Riveters’ second contracted goaltender, serving as a promising backup to the likely starter Nana Fujimoto, instead of Chelsea Laden or the massively popular Jenny Scrivens is up for debate, but she did post more consistent numbers in college hockey than either Laden or Scrivens did. Newell, who is turning 21 in October, is also full of promise and potential.
Newell also comes from a program that has seen both losing and winning seasons while she was the starting goalie in all four years of her time as a Princeton Tiger.
“We also lacked a little bit of experience from a winning standpoint, where some of these girls from the college programs they came from maybe didn’t come from winning programs.” -Riveters GM and head coach Chad Wiseman
Newell may be young, but with a U-18 gold medal and over 50 wins as a starting goaltender at Princeton to her name she clearly knows how to win hockey games.
Working with Riveters’ resident goaltending coach Jonathan de Castro can only bring Newell’s game to the next level. Given her sound mechanics and big frame she could develop into something truly special if given a chance in the NWHL with the New York Riveters, even if the team’s other 2015 draft picks currently have a great deal more buzz and attention surrounding them.