Vicky Sunohara
Vicky Sunohara is a three-time Olympian and is known as one of Canada's all-time most popular female ice hockey
Ice hockey
Ice hockey, often referred to as hockey, is a team sport played on ice, in which skaters use wooden or composite sticks to shoot a hard rubber puck into their opponent's net. The game is played between two teams of six players each. Five members of each team skate up and down the ice trying to take...

 players. She was once considered to be the best female ice hockey player in the world and was described as the "Wayne Gretzky of women's hockey". She is currently the head coach of the University of Toronto women's hockey team.

Personal life

Sunohara was born in Scarborough, Ontario. She is of Japanese-Ukrainian ethnicity. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...


Sunohara gave birth to twin boys in 2009, following her retirement from international hockey in 2008.

Hockey career

Sunohara began to play hockey as a small child and the love of the game came naturally to her as her late father, David Sunohara, was a hockey enthusiast who played with the Ryerson Rams
Ryerson Rams
The Ryerson Rams are the athletic teams that represent Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.-Teams:Ryerson operates 14 men's and women's interuniversity sports teams that compete nationally through Ontario University Athletics and Canadian Interuniversity Sport...

 in Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

. Sunohara's late father built a backyard rink in the winters and introduced his daughter to skating at the age of two and a half. "My mother said that from the minute my father introduced me to hockey, I wouldn't do anything else," Sunohara commented. "I just loved it." She began playing organized hockey on a boys team at age 5, but was eventually banned from the boys' leagues due to her gender. She ended up dominating every level of girls' competition.

Sunohara attended Stephen Leacock Collegiate Institute in Scarborough, Ontario, where she was a standout on the women's ice hockey, field hockey, soccer, and flag football teams. Following high school, she received a full scholarship to Northeastern University in Boston, which is part of the NCAA Division 1 in ice hockey. While at Northeastern, she guided her team to win the ECAC Hockey championship, was awarded the ECAC Rookie of the Year, and was named to the NCAA All-American All-Star team. Sunohara also played hockey for the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

, where her team won the Ontario university championships in 1990-91 and 1991-92. She was named the Ontario university women's ice hockey Rookie of the Year in 1990-91.

Sunohara won an Olympic silver medal
Ice hockey at the 1998 Winter Olympics
Ice hockey at the 1998 Winter Olympics was played at The Big Hat and Aqua Wing Arena in Nagano, Japan.-Men's tournament:The 1998 Olympic men's ice hockey tournament was the first in which professional players from the National Hockey League were allowed to participate, allowing national teams to...

 at the 1998 Winter Olympics
1998 Winter Olympics
The 1998 Winter Olympics, officially the XVIII Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event celebrated from 7 to 22 February 1998 in Nagano, Japan. Seventy-two nations and 2,176 participans contested in seven sports and 72 events at 15 venues. The games saw the introduction of Women's ice...

 in Nagano, Japan. She continued with an Olympic gold medal
Ice hockey at the 2002 Winter Olympics
Ice hockey at the 2002 Winter Olympics were held at the E Center in West Valley City and Peaks Ice Arena in Provo, Utah. Both the men's and women's tournaments were won by Canada, defeating the host USA in both games.-Men:...

 at the 2002 Winter Olympics
2002 Winter Olympics
The 2002 Winter Olympics, officially the XIX Olympic Winter Games, were a winter multi-sport event that was celebrated in February 2002 in and around Salt Lake City, Utah, United States. Approximately 2,400 athletes from 77 nations participated in 78 events in fifteen disciplines, held throughout...

 in Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Utah. The name of the city is often shortened to Salt Lake or SLC. With a population of 186,440 as of the 2010 Census, the city lies in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, which has a total population of 1,124,197...

, U.S.A.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and another gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics
2006 Winter Olympics
The 2006 Winter Olympics, officially known as the XX Olympic Winter Games, was a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in Turin, Italy from February 10, 2006, through February 26, 2006. This marked the second time Italy hosted the Olympic Winter Games, the first being the VII Olympic Winter...

 in Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

, Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...


Besides the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics, Sunohara represented Canada in numerous international ice hockey competitions. She won 7 gold medals at the International Ice Hockey Federation
International Ice Hockey Federation
The International Ice Hockey Federation is the worldwide governing body for ice hockey and in-line hockey. It is based in Zurich, Switzerland, and has 70 members...

 (IIHF) World Championships, the first one coming in 1990. In total, she won 15 gold medals and 3 silver medals as a member of Canada's national team. Sunohara finished her career with Team Canada with 119 points (56 goals and 62 assists) in 164 games.

When she was not involved in international competition, Sunohara was the captain and assistant coach for the Brampton Canadettes Thunder, a team in an elite women's league, the Canadian Women's Hockey League
Canadian Women's Hockey League
The Canadian Women's Hockey League is one of two major women's ice hockey leagues in Canada. The league was founded in 2007. The league currently has six ice hockey teams: three in Ontario, one in Quebec, one in Alberta and one in Boston, Massachusetts....

 (formerly the Brampton Thunder of the National Women's Hockey League). Sunohara has participated in several national championships. She was named the top forward in the 2005 national tournament and her team, the Brampton Thunder, won the national title in 2006.

Sunohara also played in the Central Ontario Women's Hockey League with the Scarborough Firefighters (1990 to 1994), Toronto Red Wings (1994 to 1996), and the Newtonbrook Panthers (1996 to 1997).


Sunohara is credited with helping to expand the popularity of female ice hockey, having trained and mentored many young girls in the sport. Along with instructing at several hockey camps and clinics, she served as an assistant hockey coach at the Team Canada Under 18 and Under 19 evaluation camps.

In 2011, Sunohara was named head coach of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues womens' hockey team. "This is a dream job for me," said Sunohara. "I played here at U of T, I went to school here and graduated from the Faculty of Physical Education and Health and now I have a chance to give back to one of the most prolific women's hockey programs in North America. This is a great opportunity for me and I look forward to the task at hand – making the Varsity Blues a national contender."

Well-known for her affable manner and engaging personality, Sunohara has been described as "one of the nicest people in all of hockey." During her tenure with Team Canada, Sunohara was counted on for her veteran leadership. She was the assistant captain of Canada's national team from 2001 until her retirement in 2008 at the age of 38.

A former Team Canada teammate, Sami Jo Small, was quoted as saying this about Sunohara:

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 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.

In 2009, Toronto's former mayor, David Miller
David Miller (Canadian politician)
David Raymond Miller is a Canadian politician. He was the 63rd Mayor of Toronto and the second since the 1998 amalgamation. He was elected to the position in 2003 for a three-year term and re-elected in 2006 for a four-year term...

, remarked:

Not only is Vicky one of Canada's elite female athletes, she is a Torontonian and the granddaughter of immigrants representing the city's diversity which is one of our most important strengths. Vicky is well respected in our community and has worked tirelessly to help the youth of Toronto -- especially young girls -- develop their skills and fulfill their dreams.

Sunohara makes frequent appearances as a guest speaker and donates a considerable amount of time to charitable organizations. She served as Spokesperson for Youth Assisting Youth. In 2010, Sunohara was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Canadian Sport Centre Ontario, a non-profit organization committed to assisting high-performance athletes and coaches achieve excellence in international competition.

Other Accomplishments

In 2002, Sunohara was inducted into the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame. In 2006, she was named an inaugural member of the Scarborough Walk of Fame.

At the age of 36, Sunohara was named Ontario's female athlete of the year for 2006.

Sunohara has been acknowledged by the Hockey Hall of Fame
Hockey Hall of Fame
The Hockey Hall of Fame is located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Dedicated to the history of ice hockey, it is both a museum and a hall of fame. It holds exhibits about players, teams, National Hockey League records, memorabilia and NHL trophies, including the Stanley Cup...

 as one of the notable women ice hockey players of all time.

In 2009, Sunohara was selected by the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee to be Toronto's final torchbearer as Toronto welcomed the Vancouver-bound 2010 Olympic flame on its cross-country journey. She lit the cauldron before thousands of spectators at Nathan Phillips Square
Nathan Phillips Square
Nathan Phillips Square is an urban plaza that forms the forecourt to Toronto City Hall, or New City Hall, at the intersection of Queen Street West and Bay Street, and named for Nathan Phillips, mayor of Toronto from 1955 to 1962. The square opened in 1965, and, as with the City Hall, the square was...


External links

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