The fight for women’s hockey

UNB Women's hockey.1.

It is unacceptable that this case took ten years to be resolved. It speaks volumes on how amateur sport is being blocked in Canada and the little-known battles being waged to defend participation in sport.

Faced with cutbacks in government funding for education, different universities in Canada and the United States have similarly cut back on both women’s sports – such as women’s hockey to field hockey – as well as sports deemed “fringe” or “minor”, that is, those that do not generate revenue, while prioritizing so-called “high profile” sports.

Money the “deciding factor”

“It was just an absolute sense of betrayal and very demeaning…”

Ms Dooley said Saturday’s home game in Fredericton against Mount Allison University would provide “a pretty significant sense of closure.”

UNB Women's hockey.2

Action from October 13th game between UNB and Mount Allison Tommies

The former UNB hockey player, now based in Ottawa, was in the stands when the Varsity Reds hit the ice for the first regular season game in a decade.

She says she met head coach Sarah Hilworth on Thursday and that the team appeared excited to start the season.

Mount Allison won a taut game 2-1 in double overtime.

In the United States

The case of the University of North Dakota illustrates the neo-liberal, anti-social trend in the United States.

On March 30, 2017 North Dakota cut women’s hockey, one of the top-tier Division I teams in the NCAA. There were reportedly no alternatives, such as club teams, offered, either.

The program produced 12 Olympians in only 15 years, including eight who played in the Sochi Games; the Fighting Hawks had come into the season ranked sixth in national polls.

Sports Illustrated reported that University president Mark Kennedy, faced with state budget cuts, pressured “the athletics department for greater funding for the four recent conference championship teams of volleyball, football and men’s and women’s basketball.” Other sports such as men’s golf were offered the opportunity to fundraise the difference but not men’s or women’s swimming and diving, or women’s hockey.

 

The cuts left just 35 women’s Division I hockey programs in the US.

 

2017.03.US women's hockey statement

Statement issued in March 2017

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Filed under Athletes, Hockey

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