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'I want my words to hold meaning,' says two-time Blake captain and Ms. Hockey finalist Suzy Higuchi

Higuchi, originally born in Japan, ended up moving to Minnesota specifically to play hockey. She finished her high school career with over 175 points and will be attending Yale in the fall.

A hockey player wearing a green, blue, and white jersey.
Suzy Higuchi competes for The Blake School in a playoff game against Edina in 2022 at the Parade Ice Garden in Minneapolis.
Sydney Wolf / The Rink Live

MINNEAPOLIS — "Holy heck, how did I do that?"

That's what Suzy Higuchi was thinking when she saw that she was a top-five finalist for the prestigious Ms. Hockey award.

"My mom just ran up to my room and was like 'Oh my gosh, you made the top five!' and I think that just overall my family is still in shock," said the 18-year-old. "Even the top 10, I was like 'Oh my goodness, how is that possible!' "

It's actually very easy to see why the senior forward was a part of the finalists for the award if you dig into her career statistics. Higuchi scored over 175 points with the Bears over five varsity seasons and was a two-time captain.

Although the skater has lived a majority of her life in Minnesota, she was originally born in Japan, a country that doesn't typically produce many ice hockey players.


"It's not very popular (in Japan), so there weren't a lot of kids in it. My brother was actually a goalie, so his team would let me skate on their ice a little bit," Higuchi said.

She learned to skate in Japan but didn't actually start getting into organized hockey until she moved to the United States around the age of 4. Suzy's father played roller hockey in college, so that was some of the inspiration behind why her older brother wanted to try ice hockey in the first place.

The Higuchi family first moved to California, mainly the San Diego area, when they came overseas from Japan.

"A big reason why they moved to the U.S. was because they wanted me and my brother to get a bit more of a chance to go to school here," said Higuchi. "From a perspective of Japanese people, being able to speak English and going to school here is highly looked upon and they wanted us to have a chance to experience that."

After moving around a few times in California, the Higuchi family found that Suzy needed to be somewhere more suited for her hockey skills and development.

"The main reason we moved to Minnesota was for hockey," said Higuchi. "When I lived in California, there was only one other girl that I knew that played hockey. As I was getting older, my parents realized that I needed to be in an environment where there were more girls playing."

And so the family then subsequently made the move to Minnesota and Suzy would eventually enroll at The Blake School when it became time to compete at the high school level.

Higuchi started playing on varsity in the eighth grade, and it wasn't necessarily the easiest adjustment.


"It was definitely intimidating," said the senior captain. "Physically, the girls were gigantic, they were so tall. We were like 'How are we going to be able to keep up with these people?' "

But Higuchi was able to adapt and even posted 15 points in her eighth grade season. She credits being able to watch and practice with the older girls on the team, especially the ones who were committed to play at the Division I level, to her success.

"I often times refer to Suzy as a magician. Her hand-eye coordination, her hands, they're unbelievable," said Blake head coach Kristi King on the Ms. Hockey finalist press release web page. "Often times Suzy leaves everyone with a jaw-drop reaction. The plays Suzy makes are above and beyond the high school level. Suzy makes everyone around her better with her high hockey IQ and her work ethic."

The forward got better and better as each year went on, and ended up committing to Yale ahead of her junior season.

"There's a lot of people who supported me along the way and gave me advice, and the two biggest things that I heard were to just enjoy the process (of recruiting) and to keep an open mind because you don't know what's going to end up being the right fit for you," said Higuchi.

The Blake senior loved how Yale prioritizes both athletics and academics; it's something that is important to both Suzy and her family.

Over her five varsity seasons at Blake, Higuchi ended her high school career with 178 points and was named a captain her junior and senior years.

"I definitely think that I'm on the quieter side. Just in general, I'm not a super loud or vocal person, but I try my best to lead by example," says the forward on her personality and being a team leader.


"I want my words to hold meaning and to have significance. I try my best to make sure that I step back and give others a voice."

Higuchi, a Ms. Hockey finalist, is set to enroll at Yale in the fall where she will play Division I hockey. You can expect her to be a difference-maker there, both on and off the ice.

Sydney Wolf is a reporter for The Rink Live, primarily covering youth and high school hockey. She joined the team in November of 2021 and graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing and Rhetoric Studies.
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