Kim Heyl becomes the sixth field hockey player and the first goalie to be inducted into the Keene State Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame.
A stellar goaltender, Heyl was a critical building block in the development of a successful Keene State field hockey team during her four-year (1981–84) career. Her numbers speak for themselves. With Heyl between the pipes, the Owls racked up an impressive 59- 18-8 record and went to two AIAW and one NCAA Division II tournaments. Heyl, from Durham, Conn., left her mark on the field and in the KSC record book. She still holds numerous Owl records, including season and career marks for victories (19, 49), shutouts (9, 26), and goals against average (0.81, 1.03).
Impressed by the fact that so many of her records still stand today, Heyl said there were a combination of things that made her a standout in the net. "I had very good eye-hand coordination, and being left-footed was also an advantage for me," she said. "Most players were right-handed, so I was able to come across and kick the ball away."
Heyl’s introduction to the position came by chance when her coach at Coginchaugn Regional High School asked her to put on the pads. It was love at first save for Heyl. "I liked the fact that it came down to me, and I could keep us in a game," she said.
Heyl’s play earned her multiple accolades, including Shoreline Conference and high school All-America honors her junior and senior seasons.
Adapting to the challenge of playing field hockey at the college level, Heyl thrived under Coach Chuck Sweeney. "He stressed the point that what you do in practice, you do in a game," said Heyl. "I still use that advice in my everyday life. You get out of it what you put into it."
"Kim was dedicated to the sport of field hockey and had an unbelievable work ethic," said former KSC Coach Sweeney. "Kim was great to have on the team. She didn’t like to lose and was a loyal team player."
Mentally as well as physically tough, Heyl had a net full of highlights playing for the Owls, including a shootout victory over Holy Cross and the teams’ championship run in 1983. Finishing first in New England and third in the nation (Division II), Keene State posted a tournament win over Bentley before falling to Bloomsburg (Pa.) in the second-round. "It was an amazing experience, especially for someone who came from such a small high school program," she said.
A goalie is only as good as the defense around her, and Heyl had two of the best in twin sisters Holly and Kathy Cyr. Heyl not only left Keene State with records and memories; she also gathered life-long friends. "Some of my closest friends came from Keene State, and they’re still with me today," she said.
Earning an associate’s degree in general education from Keene State, Heyl later returned to the turf as a golf superintendent. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from UMass in turf management, she worked at several courses in Conn. before entering the care-giving field.
Heyl said she was shocked and utterly surprised when she heard about her induction into the KSC Hall of Fame.