April 22, 1929 |
Moose Jaw, SK, CAN
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight||165 lb (75 kg; 11 st 11 lb)|
|Played for||New York Rangers|
 Early life
In high school, Sonmor played for Moose Jaw and was a multi-sport star; playing point guard in basketball, quarterback in football and left wing in hockey, as well as pitching in semi-pro baseball. At 5' 10", Sonmor would focus on hockey after graduation and would sign a C form with the Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League, committing him to the team if he ever turned pro. Sonmor would then play junior hockey with the Guelph Biltmores in the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) and the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL). The 1948-49 Brandon team would go onto win the MJHL championship, defetaing the Calgary Buffalos for the Abbott Cup, but would lose in the Memorial Cup championship to the Montreal Royals. Sonmor would lead the way for the Wheat Kings with 18 goals and 30 assists in 30 regular season games and 10 goals and 14 assists in 25 playoff games. The 1948-49 team would be named to the Manitoba Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006.
 Professional career
In 1949, Sonmor was sent by Cleveland to the Minneapolis Millers in the United States Hockey League and his play attracted the attention of the parent club. From 1949 to 1954, Sonmor would play predominantly for the Barons, but would spend the 1951-52 season with the St. Louis Flyers, and would record consecutive 20-goal seasons.
Sonmor spent part of the 1953-54 season with the National Hockey League (NHL) New York Rangers before Cleveland officially traded him to the team on 15 November 1954 for eventual Hall of Famer Andy Bathgate and Vic Howe. In the NHL, Sonmor was considered a highly physical player known for his fighting abilities, as he would record only 2 goals in 30 games over the 1953-54 and 1954-55 seasons. On 27 February 1955, Sonmor would suffer a career-ending injury to his left eye when he was hit by a slap shot from teammate Steve Kraftcheck. Sonmor's injury would come four days after the birth of his daughter Kathy, putting both he and his wife in the hospital at the same time. Later stories of Sonmor's glass eye popping out onto the Minnesota North Stars bench during his coaching career are told by the North Stars' General Manager, Lou Nanne.
 Coaching career
Following his retirement from the NHL, Sonmor was hired to be the freshman hockey coach at the University of Minnesota by longtime coach, and AHL & USHL teammate, John Mariucci. He would then coached a number of amateur hockey teams including various levels in Junior hockey, at the Ohio State University, before return to Minnesota as the vasity coach. Sonmor coached the Golden Gopher Hockey Team from 1966–1971, which included a Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) regular season championship in the 1969-70 season and a WCHA playoff championship in the 1970-71 season.
In 1972, Sonmor moved up to the professional level when he joined the fledgling Minnesota Fighting Saints of the World Hockey Association (WHA) as coach and general manager. In the middle of the season, Sonmor gave up his coaching duties, but continued as GM. After the team folded in 1976, the WHA's Cleveland Crusaders moved to St. Paul and changed their name to the New Minnesota Fighting Saints and Sonmor was hired as the team's coach and general manager. However, the New Saints followed their predecessor and folded in January 1977. Sonmor then went on to coach the WHA's Birmingham Bulls and stayed there through the end of the 1977-78 season. In 1978, Sonmor was named head coach of the NHL North Stars and would go on to coach the team 3 different times (1978–1983, 1984–1985, and 1986–1987). Sonmor's teams made the playoffs four of six full seasons and he led the team to the 1981 Stanley Cup Finals where they lost to the heavily favored New York Islanders (who were in the middle of a four-year run as Stanley Cup champions). However, Sonmor's career with the North Stars was overshadowed by several bar fights, and alcoholism that ultimately led him away time and time again from his coaching duties to enter care unit treatment for alcoholism. He would eventually give up drinking in 1983 after being suspended from the team in January after a particularly bad episode in Pittsburgh. Sonmor stepped down for good two games into the 1986-87 season for health reasons, leaving with a record of 174-161-82 in 417 games during his tenure.
 Later life
Since retiring as a coach, Sonmor has predominantly worked as a radio analyst for University of Minnesota hockey games on the Golden Gopher Radio Network, which includes WCCO-AM. Sonmor is a recipient of an honorary "M" by the University and is an "M Club" Hall of Fame inductee in 2007. From 1994-96, Sonmor was the director of player development for the now defunct Minnesota Moose of the International Hockey League. In 2000, Sonmor was hired by the Minnesota Wild, as a scout responsible for looking at high school talent for the club in preparation for the NHL Entry Draft. On 3 February 2011, the 81 yr old Sonmor announced that he planned to retire from the Gopher broadcast booth following the end of the 2011 season. During the February 18/19 series against the University of Wisconsin, Wally Shaver was joined in the WCCO broadcast booth by injured Gopher forward Zach Budish in lieu of Sonmor. Shortly following the series, it was announced that Sonmor would retire effective immediately, as opposed to finishing the season.
He is the author, with Ross Bernstein, of the autobiographical Old Time Hockey: Memories and Musings of a Lifetime on Ice.
- Bernstien, Ross. "Old Time Hockey: Memories and Musings of a Lifetime on Ice" pp. 30
- Showers, Bob. Minnesota North Stars: History and Memories With Lou Nanne, Beaver's Pond Press; First Edition (October 1, 2007). ISBN 1-59298-197-6
- Lester Patrick Trophy recipients
- Sonmore, Glen and Bernstein, Ross. "Old Time Hockey: Memories and Musings of a Lifetime on Ice", Bernstein Books; (November 2007). ISBN 0-9787809-1-4
|Ohio State Head Ice Hockey Coach
|Head coach of the Minnesota North Stars