2007-08: Tommi Kivisto split the season between Jokerit's U-18 and U-20 teams. In nine games at the U-20 level he scored 2 goals with 4 PIM. He also played six games for Team Finland at the WJC U-18 tournament, netting 1 goal with 2 assists and 8 PIM. Kivisto was drafted in the first round (sixth overall) of the 2008 CHL Import draft by Red Deer (WHL).
2008-09: In his first season of North American hockey, Kivisto was one of the top offensive defensemen in the WHL for the first half of the season but seemed to fade as the season wore on – particularly after returning from the WJC tournament. In 65 regular season games with the Rebels, he scored 1 goal with 21 assists but was -9 with 49 PIM. Playing for Team Finland at the WJC U-20 tournament, Kivisto scored one goal in six games.
2009-10: After being drafted by the Hurricanes, Kivisto turned some heads by deciding to return to Finland and compete for a spot with Jokerit in the SM-Liiga rather than returning to Red Deer. Jokerit struggled out of the gate and with a veteran defense corps and two other young players battling for spots, Kivisto's saw very little ice time. He spent a good portion of the season with Jokerit's U-20 team. In 22 SM-Liiga games, he had two assists with 12 PIM and was -4. In 18 junior games, he had 2 goals with 5 assists and 58 PIM. Kivisto also played for Team Finland at the WJC U-20 tournament – with 1 assist in six games and a -2 plus/minus.
2010-11: Kivisto saw limited ice-time with Jokerit in his first full season in Finland's SM-Liiga. He appeared in 38 games for the Helsinki-based club and had five assists with a +4 plus/minus with 22 PMs while averaging just over 17 minutes of ice time per game. Kivisto signed a three-year, entry level deal with the Hurricanes in June, 2011.
2011-12: Kivisto returned to Finland for the season as he was loaned to Jokerit by the Hurricanes. He split the season between Jokerit and minor league club Kiekko-Vantaa in Mestis. Playing limited minutes with Jokerit, he had 4 assists and was plus-two with 8 penalty minutes. He showed the offensive instincts of his junior hockey days playing for Kiekko-Vantaa, scoring 5 goals with 7 assist in 20 games and was plus-two with 22 penalty minutes. In four Mestis playoff games he had 1 goal with 1 assist and was minus-six.
2012-13: Kivisto made his AHL debut in November, appearing in 17 games for Carolina affiliate Charlotte, and spent most of his first pro season in North America with the ECHL's Florida Everblades. He had 2 assists and was -3 with 12 penalty minutes for the Checkers. Kivisto played 48 regular season games with Florida and was with the Everblades during the playoffs. He scored 4 goals with 11 assists and was +1 with 59 penalty minutes in the regular season. Florida finished second in the South Division and advanced to the second round. Kivisto scored 1 goal with 5 assists and was +4 with 18 penalty minutes in 12 playoff games.
Kivisto is an offensively capable blueliner with a powerful shot. Kivisto skates well, can make good passes and is satisfactory in his own end but the knock on him is his decision making and his ability to control the puck when pressured. Did little to dispel those concerns when he decided to return home to Finland rather than facing the competitive forechecking in the WHL. He made a positive impression on some in the Carolina organization by attending the team's conditioning camp and performing well in the fitness tests.
Kivisto’s time to impress in North America is coming to a close, the European leagues are almost a certain future for the young defender.