Less than 24 hours after a landmark moment for women’s hockey, some devastating news has hit one of the nation’s big-name college programs.
The University of North Dakota is eliminating its women’s hockey program, according to Todd Milewski of the Wisconsin State Journal.
According to the Grand Forks Herald, UND President Mark Kennedy informed the athletic department that it had to make $1.3 million in cuts to its budget. Reporter Brad E. Schlossman wrote that representatives from women’s hockey and swimming were called to a meeting this afternoon with the athletic director, Brian Faison.
The UND women’s hockey team has only been around since 2002. The program struggled in its early days, but received a major jolt in 2010, when Grand Forks natives and twin sisters Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux decided to transfer from powerhouse Minnesota to UND for their final three seasons.
The Lamoureux twins led UND to the program’s first top-half finish as sophomores, then reached the NCAA quarterfinals as juniors and seniors—the high mark for the program. Other elite players followed the Lamoureuxs.
UND had one player in the 2006 Olympic Games, three in the 2010 Games and eight in 2014—the Lamoureuxs played for the U.S., Michelle Karvinen, Anna Kilponen, Vilma Tanskanen and Susanna Tapani played for Finland and Tanja Eisenschmid and Susanne Fellner played for Germany. In February’s Olympics, UND could have as many as 10.
North Dakota has eight current or former women’s hockey players on USA Hockey’s four national teams.
In an embarrassment to the program, players were on the ice for practice on Wednesday without being informed that the program was eliminated. That drew a strong reaction from the program’s biggest stars:
And furthering the hasty nature of this:
Again, this comes 24 hours after women’s hockey earned some measure of equality and plenty of financial support from USA Hockey. But, clearly, North Dakota felt its women’s hockey program wasn’t worth its financial backing. Sad day for the former Fighting Sioux.
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