It was just about two weeks ago today that the University of Providence announced that they would be cutting the women’s hockey team from their list of athletic programs, a move that came as a surprise to many. In a press release from the University, Athletic Director Doug Hashley said “The University of Providence has fostered women’s hockey for 3 years. Currently it is just not a viable sport for our athletic department. This decision has nothing to do with the COVID19 pandemic, but is a decision based on a lack of enrollment in the this program.” The team did face strong enrollment issues in its three years, including having just 15 student athletes in 2019. However, parents of these student athletes think that the axe came down too quick “Heartbreaking. I was so sad for her. She had worked so very hard to get to that place where she could say ‘I’m on a university hockey team and she had been so excited because the coach had spoken to the team back in, I believe it was late April, saying we’ve got games scheduled, we have enough players, we’re a go.” said Patty Simoneau That’s Patty Simoneau, whose daughter Kim played for Providence. Patty says that the lack of enrollment shouldn’t have shut down the program, and that the team could’ve made do with what they had. “They managed to find enough players to roster a team this year. Is it a roster of 23? No. I believe my daughter told me it was 15 players that they had, which is more than enough to play a probationary year.” said Simoneau As far as what can be done to bring the team back, Patty says community involvement and seeing other schools follow Providence’s lead is crucial. “Continue to encourage other schools too, to start the hockey program so that there is more opportunity closer to home. There’s more teams that can be built in the state of Montana, and perhaps even in neighboring states as well.” said Simoneau Only time will tell if the university will be able to bring back the women’s hockey program.
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