Women’s hockey at the University of Toronto is set to get a boost of Olympic proportions, as seven-time world champion and three-time Olympian Vicky Sunohara joins the Varsity Blues women’s hockey program as head coach, effective immediately.
“I am thrilled to have Vicky at U of T and guiding our women’s hockey program,” said Beth Ali, director of intercollegiate and high performance sport at the University’s Faculty of Physical Education and Health. “She’s an outstanding leader and a proven champion at both the national and international level. Her knowledge of hockey and passion for the game is irrefutable and I’m confident that it will translate well with our student-athletes, our alumni and throughout the CIS hockey community.”
A member of Canada’s national women’s hockey program from 1989-2008, Sunohara comes to U of T after serving two years as the director of women’s hockey at The Hill Academy in Vaughan, Ont. She was previously an assistant coach with the Blues in 2004-05, as well as an assistant coach with Hockey Canada’s under-18 and -19 women’s programs.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist served as an assistant captain for seven years with Team Canada before retiring from international competition in 2008. In addition to the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics, Sunohara has represented Canada in several international ice hockey competitions. In total, she won 15 gold and three silver medals as a member of Canada's national team, finishing her career with 118 points (56 goals and 62 assists) in 164 games.
Sunohara also served as team captain for 10 seasons with the Brampton Canadette-Thunder in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL), leading her team to two provincial and one national title.
Sunohara is no stranger to the University of Toronto. After attending Northeastern University on a full athletic scholarship from 1988-90, she played two seasons with the Blues, winning two Ontario Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Association (OWIAA) championship titles and earning rookie of the year honours in 1990-91. Following the conclusion of her hockey career, Sunohara returned to U of T and completed her bachelor’s degree in physical health education.
“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.”
Sunohara will take the reigns of one of U of T’s most decorated teams this fall. Since 1971-72, the Varsity Blues have captured 17 conference championships, more than any other team in Ontario and was the team of the 90s, winning six OUA titles and placing first in the OUA every season.