Sudarshan Maharaj made history when he was hired by the New York Islanders in 2003 to serve as their Goalie Coach, becoming the first Asian-American to coach a NHL team.
Born in Trinidad in 1964 to parents of Indian descent, Maharaj and his family moved to Toronto in 1970, where he was first introduced to the game of hockey. With role models including longtime Philadelphia Flyers goalie Bernie Parent, Maharaj tended the net for various teams including the University of Wisconsin and York University in Toronto, where the Lions won the David Johnston University Cup as the top team among all Canadian universities.
In 1985, he headed to Sweden and turned pro with Gislaveds SK in Sweden’s second-division. Maharaj later played with Hällefors IK, Alfta GIF, and Olofströms IK in Sweden’s minor leagues before retiring in 1991.
While in Sweden, Maharaj faced overt racism, including an incident where his car was firebombed when two Molotov cocktails were brazenly hurled through the back of the car.
“It was definitely racially motivated…there were enough names exchanged and yelled through my window that it wasn’t because I had brown eyes.”Sudarshan Maharaj, 2016 to The New York Times
After spending 6 seasons playing as a goaltender in Sweden from 1985 to 1990, Maharaj returned to Toronto where he worked with at-risk youth for various public schools as a behavioural consultant. In addition, he worked as a Goalie Coach at York University and helped train goalies in the off-season, including NHL players such as Kevin Weekes, Rick DiPietro, and Ray Emery.
In 2003, Maharaj was hired by the Islanders as their Goalie Coach, where he worked for 6 seasons. In the middle of his tenure on Long Island, he also worked for Hockey Canada from 2005-2007, where he was instrumental in creating the National Goaltending Development Program.
Maharaj later worked as a Goaltending Consultant for the Anaheim Ducks, focusing on their AHL affiliate in Norfolk and later San Diego, where he worked closely with future NHL starters John Gibson and Frederik Andersen.
In 2016, he was promoted to serve as the Anaheim Ducks’ Goalie Coach.