PHOTO CRED: Michael Hetzel
BROOKLYN, NY - Kaliya Johnson, a top stay-at-home defender with the Connecticut Whale last season after a standout collegiate career at Boston College, is returning to Boston after signing a one-year contract with the Pride. Johnson had 3 assists in 14 games with the Whale last season.
“I had a great time with the Whale, but my home and job are in Boston, so going to the Pride is a personal decision,” said Johnson, 22. “I’m excited about the potential of getting the Isobel Cup back to Boston. You can’t win games without strong defense, and that’s what building with Thomas Poeck as head coach.”
Johnson just completed an internship in the athletic department at Boston College, where she assisted in student-athlete development. She is starting a full-time job coordinating volunteer engagement for the Boston-based non-profit organization Building Impacts.
At Boston College, Johnson had 7 goals and 36 assists for 43 points in 142 games. She earned her degree in 2016 in Sociology / Applied Psychology / Human Development. She was also part of the 2012 U.S. team that won silver at the U-18 World Championships.
Growing up in Arizona, she played in the Desert Youth Hockey organization, including two years in the boys’ program. “Then the checking got a bit much, I broke my arm, and it was girls’ hockey only for me after that,” she said. From age 15 until earning the scholarship from BC, she played at North American Hockey Academy (NAHA) in Stowe, Vermont. She was a Junior Women’s Hockey League First Team all-star as she helped NAHA win the 2011-12 league championship.
Johnson shared two personal tidbits. Her boyfriend, whom she met at BC, is Justin Dunn – a pitching prospect of the New York Mets currently playing high A ball in Port St. Lucie, Fla. And the reason Kaliya wore No. 10 in her first season in the NWHL was for her mother, Kelli, who wore the number as a collegiate and professional basketball player.
“I honor my mom and all the sacrifices she made for me to get to where I am today,” said Johnson.