Sunohara makes U of T return as bench boss

Three-time Olympian and seven-time world champion Vicky Sunohara returns this year to where it all started — the University of Toronto.

Only this time she returns as the head coach of the Varsity Blues women’s hockey team and not as a student.

Sunohara began her new job last month coming from the Hill Academy in Vaughan, Ont., where she served two years as the director of women’s hockey. Her love story with the University of Toronto started in the early 1990’s, and she says coming back is a natural move.

“This is a dream job for me,” Sunohara said, on the University of Toronto Intercollegiate Athletics website. “I played here at U of T, went to school there, and now I have a chance to give back to one of the most prolific women’s hockey programs in North America.”

The Scarborough native played two seasons for the Blues, and earned a pair of Ontario Women’s Intercollegiate Athletic Association championship titles as well as rookie of the year honours in 1990-91.

Following her retirement from competition in 2008, Sunohara completed her bachelor degree in physical health education at the same university.

A silver and two-time gold medalist at the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics, she is ready to take on her new challenge with the Blues, and wants the best.

“This is a great opportunity for me and I look forward to the task at hand — making the Varsity Blues a national contender” said Sunohara.

The Faculty of Physical Education and Health is thrilled to count on Sunohara’s knowledge and passion to lead the women’s hockey program.

“She’s an outstanding leader and a proven champion at both the national and international level,” said Beth Ali, director of intercollegiate and high performance sport at the faculty, on the university’s athletics website.

“I’m confident that it will translate well with our student-athletes, alumni and throughout the CIS hockey community.”

Sunohara will pick the 2011-12 roster on Sept. 12 when all players gather at Varsity Arena for the tryouts.

The season opener will take place against the Ravens in Carleton on Sept. 23.