University of Ottawa men's hockey won't ice 2015-16 team

The University of Ottawa men's hockey program will not ice a team in 2015-16, the school announced on Friday. It's further fallout after an incident during a team trip to Thunder Bay in February 2014.

Sexual assault allegations led to charges against two players, a fired coach and team suspension

The University of Ottawa men's varsity hockey program, seen here in the 2013-14 team photo, will remain sidelined for the 2015-16 season. (Richard A. Whittaker/University of Ottawa)

The University of Ottawa will not ice a men’s hockey team for a second year in a row in 2015-16, further fallout after an incident in February 2014 during a team trip to Thunder Bay, the school has announced.

The Gee-Gees men’s hockey program was initially suspended in March 2014 after allegations of sexual assault linked to the trip. Two former players have been charged in the case and the head coach, Réal Paiement, was fired as a result.

University of Ottawa President Allan Rock says he wants to see a report on equality before moving forward towards dressing a men's hockey team. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Last June, University of Ottawa President Allan Rock then announced the men’s hockey program would be suspended for the entire 2014-15 season and on Friday, the university decided to take another year off to "implement measures that will be key to re-launching it’s men’s hockey program."

"Even though we have reviewed some of our practices and procedures, we feel it is essential to wait for the task force on respect and equality to submit its report, which is expected shortly," Rock said in a news release.

"We are also looking to hire a new men's hockey coach … Given these circumstances, we feel that this is the best decision."

School wants to dress competitive team

The university has informed Ontario University Athletics, which oversees varsity sports, about its absence in next year's schedule. The school also said the program would have had a difficult time recruiting the best student-athletes for next year.

"Most universities are already well into the process of assessing and selecting their rosters. To perform well, the University of Ottawa would need to recruit more than 20 high-calibre student-athletes," the release stated.

David Foucher, left, and Guillaume Donovan, right, were each charged with sexual assault after an incident in Thunder Bay in February 2014. (Geegees.ca men's hockey roster)
"Gee-Gees varsity team standards and expectations are high. The university does not wish to field a less-than-competitive team whose performance would not meet the expectations of the university community."

The release does say the university aims to have a team ready for the 2016-17 season.

This news comes three days after 24 members of the 2013-14 Gee-Gees hockey team announced they want to launch a class-action lawsuit against the university.

The case seeks $6-million in damages for players who say they were not involved in the incident.