North Dakota Cuts Women’s Hockey
The women’s hockey team at the University of North Dakota will no longer be a part of the athletic program after the school announced its cut due to budget restrictions, according to the United States College Hockey’s (USCHO) website.
The Grand Forks Herald reports that the school will also cut the men’s and women’s swimming teams.
According to multiple reports, North Dakota didn’t inform the players before the news started to leak.
Eight current and former North Dakota players were on Olympic rosters at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, playing for the U.S., Finland and Germany, according to USCHO.
North Dakota compiled a 16-16-6- overall record in the most recent season, bowing out to Wisconsin in the Final Face-Off semifinals, 2-1.
The Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) and Commissioner Katie Million released a statement regarding the decision of the University of North Dakota (UND) to eliminate its women’s hockey program, effective at the end of the 2016-17 academic year:
“Today’s developments are excruciatingly sad for the University of North Dakota, the WCHA and the sport of women’s hockey. While we understand the significant, state-mandated budget cuts faced by the entire University and respect the decision-making process of the UND administration, there is no denying the impact of losing a program that has produced Olympians, advanced to NCAA tournaments and is a perennial fixture in the national rankings. Our collective hearts ache for North Dakota’s current and incoming student-athletes, for the school’s alumnae and fans, for head coach Brian Idalski and his entire staff, and all involved with the program.
“The WCHA is the premier conference in women’s college hockey, and we are dedicated to ensuring it remains so – both now and well into the future. The WCHA League Office, along with our member institutions, will immediately begin the process of evaluating appropriate actions needed to remedy impacts of this decision on the 2017-18 season, while also exploring our long-term options.
“Finally, we want to thank each and every person involved with North Dakota women’s hockey from its inception in 2002 and, especially, beginning with the program’s inaugural WCHA season in 2004-05. Your efforts have had an indelible impact on our growth as a league, helping us thrive both on and off the ice. You will forever be part of the WCHA family.”
The university has said they will honor all scholarships currently in place, and will work with students to help them further their careers elsewhere, if desired.