Eri Kiribuchi (long bio here), whose blog is right here (Japanese), is competing in the Winter Universiade 2009 which started in Harbin, China today. We’ll see if she starts in goal, to the best of my knowledge she still hasn’t started an official game for Bemidji State University in Minnesota, where she is competing with two other freshmen goalies to be the starter.
She’s a very interesting case for a Japanese hockey player, having left Japan with her family shortly after the 1998 Nagano Olympics, falling in love with hockey, specifically Czech hockey. The whole family moved to Prague to pursue the kids’ hockey dreams. After attending an athletics high school in the Czech Republic, Eri’s managed to secure herself a scholarship in an NCAA Division I school. Eri has been the most successful one, having managed this national team call up, but her brother Yuto has been no slouch either playing in the Czech Extraliga 2nd division club HK Lev Slaný. While Eri is playing in the highest level of women’s hockey in NCAA Division I, the rest of her family remains in Prague operating a B&B (Japanese). She’s fluent trilingual, has appeared in a cosmetics commercial in Europe 😛 , is a promising goalie for Japan’s future, so it is good to see that the national hockey program is looking overseas for promising talent. Good luck!