Nova Scotia

SMU women's hockey players ponder next move

Members of the Saint Mary's Huskies women's team say they are still in shock two days after women's hockey was cut from the university's sports programs.
Some members of the Saint Mary's women's hockey team don't know if they'll continue their studies at the university. ((Saint Mary's))

Members of the Saint Mary's Huskies women's team say they are still in shock two days after women's hockey was cut from the university's sports programs.

In her two years in Halifax at Saint Mary's, Sey Schwetz of Edmonton has become an academic all-Canadian hockey player. Now that the women's hockey program has been eliminated, she said she doesn't know what she'll do.

"I travelled 5,000 kilometres across the country to play hockey at Saint Mary's," she said. "I wanted to be a Huskie. I don't have that fundamental reason to be here anymore."

Kaitlyn Abbass of Goose Bay, N.L., said she's also unsure what direction her hockey career will take.

"I'm in my third year of university and I'm nine credits short of graduating and I have two years of eligibility left which I had planned on using," said Abbass.

"So do I stay here at Saint Mary's and finish my degree and end hockey right now or do I go to another school and play out my two years of eligibility?"

The university says the women's hockey program cost $120,000 to run and it needed to axe the program to meet new athletic department budget cuts.

It also means Coach Lisa Jordan is out of a job. She held the job for 14 years and had already recruited players for next season.

"You know there were recruits that already had their courses lined up and they were ready to register for," said Jordan.  "I didn't even have enough time to phone those recruits personally to tell them and let them know this was happening."

Jordan will be an assistant coach of the Canadian women's hockey team at the world championship next month in Switzerland.

The number of female athletes at SMU is now about 110 compared to 180 male athletes, according to the school's athletic director, Steve Sarty.

In a release from the university, SMU President Colin Dodds said discontinuing the team was a painful, but necessary decision.

"It is part of a package of recommendations that have come from the budget advisory committee and will be presented to the board of governors for approval at the end of the month," he said.

Saint Mary's alumni are also upset and there is talk that some may offer financial support to try to keep the team alive.

The women's team had won four Atlantic University Sport championships and had been in the CIS national tournament several times.

In 2008, the University of New Brunswick lost its women's hockey team.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this article reported the cost of the women's hockey program as $60,000 a year. It costs $120,000 a year.
    Mar 21, 2011 5:22 PM AT

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