Japan’s ice hockey team enjoyed wins over Czech Republic, Sweden and Denmark in the Beijing Olympic Games before falling to Finland on February 13. Akane Hosoyamada ’15 scored the only goal in Japan’s only other loss, to China, on February 6.
As a young girl growing up in Banff, Alberta, Canada, Hosoyamada spent a lot of time on the ice with her brother playing hockey. Her passion for the sport turned into aspirations for Olympic gold, and she competed at the Winter Games for Team Japan in PyeongChang in 2018 before playing again this month at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
While working on her degree in health and exercise science at the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics at Syracuse University, Hosoyamada played defense for the Syracuse Orange and was team captain her redshirt senior year. After graduating, she did not have the chance to play for the Canadian team and nearly gave up the sport, but her friends, family and Syracuse Orange coaches urged her to continue. So, she sought out opportunities in her parents’ native Japan where she could join a competitive team—a choice she says was the right one because it helped her get back to her roots. She hopes her team’s participation in the Games will help to promote women’s ice hockey in Japan, where it is not a major sport.
Playing at the highest collegiate level of hockey at Syracuse University has molded and prepared me to play internationally. Syracuse allowed me to be more independent and showed me I can overcome any adversity. I also created lifelong friendships!—Akane Hosoyamada ’15
We recently had the opportunity to chat with Hosoyamada and ask about her accomplishments on the ice and her experience at Syracuse University.
When did you start to be interested in hockey?
I started to play hockey when I was five years old. I'm Canadian, so everyone around me played hockey, including my brother.
How has Syracuse shaped your hockey career?
Playing at the highest collegiate level of hockey at Syracuse University has molded and prepared me to play internationally. Syracuse allowed me to be more independent and showed me I can overcome any adversity. I also created lifelong friendships!
What are you most excited for at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics?
It’s different from my experience at the last Olympics because of COVID. I'm excited about everything—the entire experience, the atmosphere, the competition, the village.
What was your favorite part about your experience at Syracuse University?
Definitely the campus. I knew I wanted to attend Syracuse University when I saw the campus on my first visit. But besides that, I loved how diverse the Syracuse community was. I loved all the people I've met. I haven't been able to catch up with them lately, but I hope they're doing well.
I loved how diverse the Syracuse community was. I loved all the people I've met.—Akane Hosoyamada ’15
Did you ever see yourself competing in the Olympics?
It was certainly a dream, but it seemed really far off at the start. I tried to stay positive, but never really got a shot at playing for Canada. I was about to give up. But an opportunity came to play for Japan, so I went for it. I packed up everything and moved to Japan.
What’s next for you after hockey and the Olympics?
I would love to give back to hockey and stay connected to it. The sport has shaped me into the person I am today. I hope that I can help the next generation to experience the same amazing experiences that I've had.