Profile: Vicky Sunohara

One of the most prominent Canadian hockey players of all time, Sunohara has won 2 Olympic gold medals and 7 World Championship gold medals.

Sunohara was born in Scarborough, ON in 1970 and is a second-generation Japanese-Canadian. Playing primarily as a centre, she spent two years at Northeastern University from 1988-1990, winning an ECAC championship while amassing 122 points in just 45 games. In 1990, Sunohara was named to the Canadian team for the World Championships, the first of numerous national team appearances. She later spent two years at the University of Toronto, winning consecutive Ontario university championships in 1991 and 1992.

One of the best hockey players in the world in the 1990s, Sunohara was an early trailblazer for not only women’s hockey but also hockey players of colour. Sunohara started playing professionally in 1990 in the Central Ontario Women’s Hockey League for the Scarborough Firefighters. In 1994, she joined the Toronto Red Wings until 1996 when she played a season for the Newtonbrook Panthers.

(L-R) Captain Cassie Campbell, Vicky Sunohara, and Jayna Hefford after winning the gold medal at the 2006 Torino Olympics.

As a member of the Canadian national team, Sunohara won 15 gold medals and 3 silver medals, finishing her team national career with a total of 119 points in 164 games.

I have had the privilege of playing with some pretty amazing people but none have struck me as born leaders like Vicky Sunohara…she rallies the troops in desperate times and tells funny jokes when the pressure is mounting…she’s always there for her teammates and always willing to do whatever it takes to win. She makes those around her not only better hockey players but also better people…in the ten years I played on the team I never saw another player touch as many people in such a positive way as Vicky Sunohara

Sami Jo Small, Former teammate and General Manager of the Toronto Furies (CWHL)

Sunohara also played for the Brampton Canadette-Thunder in the precursor to the CWHL. As team captain for 10 seasons, she led the Thunder to consecutive provincial and national championships in 2007 and 2008 respectively. In her final season in 2007-2008, Sunohara scored 38 points in 28 games before retiring at age 38.

After teaching at various Hockey Canada camps, including the U18 and U19 National Team Evaluation camps, she was named Head Coach of the University of Toronto women’s hockey team in 2011.

Sunohara remains the Head Coach of the Blues today, and currently has a 115-46-11 career coaching record. She focuses on teaching Olympic values such as integrity, accountability, and commitment that transcend the game, helping her players not only improve on the ice but also ultimately become better people.

It’s more than just teaching a wrist shot or slap shot; it’s teaching the team, it’s teaching anybody that I have the opportunity to be in contact with those Olympic values.

Vicky Sunohara, 2018 interview with The Varsity

Sunohara was inducted into the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Scarborough Walk of Fame in 2006, when she was also named Ontario’s Athlete of the Year. It remains only a matter of time until she is inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.