Grace Klienbach is returning to the NWHL and Connecticut Whale for the 2019-20 season after catching the attention of Whale general manager Bray Ketchum at Free Agency Camp in June.
"We are excited to welcome Grace back to the Whale this season,” said Bray Ketchum. “She is a tenacious forward and you can always count on her to be there for her teammates and the community. She was impressive at Free Agent Camp this summer and we look forward to seeing what she has to offer this season."
“I’m beyond excited to be back on the Whale this season,” said Klienbach.” I had a great experience in my first pro season with the Whale. The team, staff, and fans were all welcoming and such great people to be around every day. I love how involved I can be in the community and you can see how much the fans appreciate it!”
In addition to Klienbach’s excitement to rejoining the team, she’s also looking forward to making Danbury Arena home.
“It is great that we are going to be playing out of a rink that is already home to another professional team, the FPHL Hat Tricks,” said Klienbach. “It makes our rink more of a hotspot for watching hockey in the area. The change in location can help our fan base and allow us to make lasting connections in the rink and community.”
PHOTO BY MATTHEW RANEY
The forward appeared in 13 games for the Whale in 2017-18 and scored in her first professional appearance. Prior to her first stint in the NWHL, Klienbach, a native of Eustis, Florida, played four seasons at Neumann University and served as an assistant captain. In 100 games with the Knights, she recorded 51 points (21-30-51), including finishing second on the team with 29 points as a senior.
“My goal is to come into this season and do whatever I can to help contribute to the team’s success,” said Klienbach. “I am always working towards rounding out my game, looking to produce a little more offensively, while also being reliable on the defensive side of the puck.”
Outside of playing for the Whale, Klienbach is a hockey coach and works as a certified athletic trainer in an orthopedic specialty group.
“Everyone has the goal of being Isobel Cup Champions, and I am no exception,” she said. “I believe in the organization, and the group we are assembling to be a championship contender this season, and I look forward to the journey that leads towards this goal this upcoming season.”