The Buffalo Beauts made history by signing the first Slovakian player in the annals of the NWHL. Word was released on Aug. 16, 2019 that defender Iveta Klimášová had been added to the team after an impressive showing at the Beauts’ Free Agent Camp held on Jul. 28 and 29.
“Iveta is a dominant force on the ice, with great size, a strong shot, and a relentless work ethic,” said Buffalo general manager Mandy Cronin in the press release on Klimášová’s signing. “We couldn’t be happier to have Iveta on the Beauts’ blue line this season.”
Playing at the U18 level, Klimášová helped Slovakia earn bronze medals at the 2015 and 2016 IIHF Women’s World U18 Division I-A tournaments. After earning a spot on the Slovakian Women’s National Team in 2014, she would help her country take gold at 2017’s Division I-B competition.
Now she is a Buffalo Beaut, and will strongly bolster the team’s blue line right from the get-go. Klimášová is the 12th player signed to the team’s 2019-20 NWHL roster. Further adding to NWHL lore, Klimášová is the first Beauts player from a country other than USA or Canada.
Klimášová’s International Experience
The 21-year-old Slovakian has participated in one Olympic qualification tournament, as well as five different IIHF Women’s World Championship tournaments – one played at the lower Division I-B level and four in Division I-A. Klimášová served as an alternate captain for Slovakia in 2018.
Back in her homeland, Klimášová has played for SKP Bratislava in the Elite Women’s Hockey League (EWHL) – a league consisting of several teams from primarily Central Europe. While with SKP Bratislava, she was teammates with fellow Buffalo Beaut, Mariah Fujimagari.
In the five IIHF World Championship tournaments that Klimášová has played in, she has appeared in 25 contests. Within those games, she has generated five goals and five assists for 10 points.
Sizable and Fierce
Klimášová has tremendous size for a women’s hockey defender. At 5-foot-8 and 205 pounds, she is very sturdy on her skates and does not shy away from physical play. That being said, the righty shooter can also generate offense from the back end.
In the 60 EWHL games Klimášová played for SKP Bratislava, she scored 28 goals and 14 assists for 44 points – rather good offensive numbers for a defender. But when it came to serving as a bit of a thumper for her team, she compiled 76 penalty minutes.
Physicality is something Klimášová has shown since a young age. In 19 games played from four IIHF U18 World Championships, she compiled 30 PIMs.
She continued on with her toughness once she was upped to the National Team. In the aforementioned 25 games at IIHF Women’s Worlds, Klimášová chalked up another 40 penalty minutes.
Needless to say, Klimášová is going to be the Beauts most formidable player, and one who should keep opposing players from getting too close to the goal crease of either Fujimagari or Kelsey Neumann.
“I cherish this opportunity to be part of the Buffalo Beauts and getting the chance to compete in the NWHL for the Isobel Cup,” said Klimášová in the release. “It is a great honor for me to be one of the first players from Slovakia in NWHL in history. I look forward to an extraordinary season for my first time as a professional player. I am grateful to all the people who have been with me all my career so far.”
As of Aug. 16, here is how the Beauts’ roster currently looks:
Goaltender: Mariah Fujimagari, Kelsey Neumann.
Defender: Meg Delay, Marie-Jo Pelletier, Iveta Klimášová.
Forward: Corinne Buie, Brooke Stacey, Kim Brown, Becki Bowering, Cassidy MacPherson, Emma Ruggiero, Ashley Birdsall (forward-defender).
Beginning May 15, NWHL teams can re-sign players from their 2018-19 roster and their draft picks. Additionally, for those players who have completed their college eligibility and want to continue their hockey careers, NWHL Free Agency provides the best opportunity to continue playing at the highest level of professional women’s hockey. The fifth season of the NWHL will begin in October as the Minnesota Whitecaps look to defend their Isobel Cup championship.
My colleague Dan Rice will keep THW readers up-to-date on Metropolitan and Connecticut’s signings throughout the summer, while I post updates on Buffalo and Boston. Together we will be keeping readers informed of all of Minnesota’s signings.