SMU women's hockey team reinstated
Canadian Tire to contribute funding to keep team afloat
The board of governors at Saint Mary's University voted Tuesday evening to keep the women's hockey team.
"After a long discussion, our board of management tonight agreed to reinstate the women's hockey team," said Steve Proctor, a spokesman for the university.
Proctor said "everybody is delighted and very happy" about the decision.
"We're very thankful that the community has come out and shown their support for women's hockey and that support has been both local and national in nature and we're very happy to be able to announce tonight that we're reinstating women's hockey."
Earlier on Tuesday, the executive of the board voted to keep the team as well, which paved the way for the evening vote.
"I think that's another positive step in the right direction of having a women's hockey program here at Saint Mary's and that is ultimately everybody's first priority is to make sure that we still have a place to play for any of the girls that want to take on that challenge," Lisa Jordan, the team's coach, told CBC News before the vote.
"I certainly respect that the board of governors has their opportunity to put their stamp on it as well and all signs point to being encouraged by this."
CBC News has learned that Canadian Tire will contribute $60,000 to help fund the program. Officials from the university and Canadian Tire will attend a news conference on Wednesday on the team's future.
The university had said it couldn't afford the $120,000 program. It's not clear whether there will be other sponsors.
The team was put on the chopping block on March 18 over budget concerns.
Last week, university president Colin Dodds said the school was "pausing" its decision to see if there was community support. He said a three-year commitment would be ideal.
A rally in support of the program drew nearly 200 people, including athletes from Dalhousie University and other rival schools.
Jordan, who founded and coached the team for 14 years, said despite the latest developments, her contract expires on Thursday and she has not heard if her contract will be renewed.
"We have not signed any type of renewal of that contract," she said.
"I think the fallout from this decision is still yet to be determined. I think there was some obvious positive results that have come from it, but there's still a lot of work to be done."