Cape Cod Times
Wednesday, January 3, 2019
By Steve Derderian
St. John Paul II goalie Henry Klimm needed something to take his mind off hockey when last season ended early.
Klimm stopped 37 shots, but fourth-seeded SJP II still lost to No. 20 Ashland, 5-3, in the first round of the MIAA Division 3 South Sectional tournament, ending a promising 16-win season.
Fortunately, Klimm has always had the family passion of fishing when hockey season ends. Klimm’s ancestors made their home first on a houseboat in Hyannis and then Woods Hole. Their favorite fishing spot now is off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard.
“When I was younger, I always looked forward to it,” Klimm said. “A big catch is kind of like winning a hockey game.”
Fishing and hockey aren’t the only things that have been passed down to Klimm. He is the fifth generation male in his family to be named Henry Klimm. His grandfather grew up in Hyannis and was a goalie for Hebron Academy in Maine. In October, he retired as captain of the Gemma, a collecting boat for the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), after 23 years.
Klimm’s father, director of the Marine Department at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, played JV hockey at Falmouth High School.
For the youngest Klimm, hockey got started by spending endless hours skating on a pond in Woods Hole, where his grandfathers made livings as fishermen. The MBL even named its dock off Waterfront Park after Klimm’s late great-grandfather, Henry W. Klimm Jr.
“It’s cool getting to know these guys who know my grandfather and my dad,” Klimm said. “You feel you have to follow it and keep going with what they’re doing and keep the legacy.”
Klimm is forming his own legacy as a hockey player. The Lions allowed just 34 goals in the 2017-18 regular season, the fewest among all Cape teams. They also scored 101 to finish a program best 16-4. Klimm had five shutouts and averaged over 20 saves per game last season, while his 1.33 goals-against average became the best in the program’s short history.
Yet it all ended in a game Klimm and the Lions said they weren’t expecting to lose.
“The whole week leading up, we were flying out there in practice,” Klimm said. “I was stopping everything and we were having a good time. We were up, but didn’t go our way. I use that this year.”
Feeding off the heartbreak from last year, the Lions started out 3-1, with two shutouts from Klimm and just three goals allowed. He has earned the trust of first-year coach Chris Kent, who was previously an assistant at SJP II and has watched Klimm develop into a starter.
Kent consults with Klimm to get his insight on certain in-game situations. Trailing 2-1 late in the third period to Mashpee/Monomoy on Dec. 12, Kent called timeout and asked Klimm about pulling him for the extra skater. Fearing an easy empty-net goal, Klimm stayed, and though SJP II still lost, Kent never doubts that Klimm’s input will always be what’s best for the team.
“It’s like having another coach with me,” Kent said. “I’ve never had the opportunity to rely upon and have the confidence in any player.”
Kent said Klimm also improved his mental game, stepping up his game even more when a goal is allowed.
“I’ve seen him be hard on himself, but he’s learned how to adapt as he’s matured as a goalie,” Kent said.
Klimm keeps his mental focus by sticking to a particular routine. He prefers sleeping in, getting a good breakfast and usually a small meal before the game. At the rink, he throws tennis balls at the wall to sharpen his reflexes and stay loose, before heading back into the locker room to get ready.
“I don’t like to think about the game too much,” he said. “I really think about it 10 minutes before. I get pretty quiet before the game.
“Mentally, I never really got too crazy,” he continued. “Nothing makes me more mad than a goal going in. I hate losing, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to shake a goal off. With this team, they can hopefully put the puck in the net if I allow a stupid goal.”
Klimm developed that confidence and routine over the past decade, starting when he played with Canalmen Youth Hockey in Bourne beginning at age 8. Back then, he played with fellow SJP II senior captain Jack Richards, one of SJP II’s leading scorers.
“When you’re younger, you always kind of throw on the pads and go into net,” Klimm said. “One year I just said, ‘I’m going to play goalie.’”
“He always has our back and always comes up with big saves,” Richards said of Klimm.
Klimm also had stints with Barnstable Youth Hockey, but is now with the Lovell Knights in Raynham, where he still plays club hockey. Starting in eighth grade, he joined the SJP II hockey team, and played sporadically in his freshman and sophomore years, and took over the starting goaltending job his junior year.
Though Klimm has excelled in hockey, he doesn’t plan to pursue it at a varsity collegiate level.
He said he wants to study either transportation or engineering at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, where he might try out for club hockey.
“I grew up on the water,” the youngest Klimm said, “so I want to keep it going.”