Nova Scotia

SMU women's hockey team may be saved

Close to 200 people rallied at Saint Mary's University Monday to protest against its decision to scrap its varsity women's hockey team, hours after the Halifax school said the program might survive.

Close to 200 people rallied at Saint Mary's University Monday to protest against its decision to scrap its varsity women's hockey team, hours after the Halifax school said the program might survive.

The evening gathering, which included athletes from such rival institutions as Dalhousie University, argued that SMU should reconsider its decision.

Just hours before the rally started, the university's president announced it was "pausing" its decision to cancel the women's hockey program.

Colin Dodds said the surprise decision made Friday to cancel the team was a financial one. He said if the university can find a financial solution through fundraising and community support, the team could be saved.

Dodds said he received calls from alumni and others promising financial support, but no hard numbers or firm commitments yet. He said he had also received many messages from supporters of the hockey team as well as women's sports in general across Canada.  

"That groundswell of support is very, very gratifying," he told CBC News.

"The net costs of the program is about $120,000," he added. "If we can get the commitments and they can be sustainable over a long period, then sure we can go back."

Dodds said a three-year commitment would be ideal and that it would not have to be for the full amount. He said if that was in place in the next 30 days, the university might reverse its decision.

"What this is giving us is time to pause to reflect," he said.

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