Calgary Herald

Concordia pulling hockey program

- CHris O’learY For tHe edmonton Journal eDMoNToN

The Concordia University College of Alberta men’s hockey team is no more, at least in its current financial situation.

The school announced on Wednesday that it couldn’t afford to maintain its most expensive athletics program and, as a result, would not be putting its 19-yearold program on the ice for a 20th season in 2011-12.

Gerald Krispin, the school’s president, said the school is in need of a white knight.

“The hockey program has been consistent­ly over budget since its inception, really,” he said. “We’ve been maintainin­g it out of the general operations of the university. This year, the general operations of the university are not able to sustain it.”

The school was told that there would be less funding from the province and all programs have come under scrutiny. The team will not compete in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference next season unless it receives outside help.

“There’s never a point of no return, as you can tell with the St. Mary’s situation,” Krispin said, referring to the Nova Scotian school pulling its women’s hockey program, then resurrecti­ng it when a donation came its way last week.

“We don’t have any white knights on the horizon as far as we know at this juncture,” he said.

“When you budget, you budget on what you know. You can’t budget on what might be.

“For this year, for what we know, in the current budget conditions, we are in a situation where . . . we made (a decision) in order to maintain ourselves in a relatively low-deficit situation. Not no-deficit, but a lowdeficit situation.”

Andrew Koning, the presidente­lect of Concordia’s students associatio­n, said he and the students associatio­n would have liked to have been in the know on the matter.

“We’d like to be a part of the process,” he said. “Maybe the result doesn’t change, but I’m sure they’re doing this for the best interests of students. It was very unexpected. This is right out of the blue and now there are questions this raises . . . about things, what kind of financial situation are we standing in? That’s not really clear right now.”

Koning said that he’d heard around the school that if $50,000 could be raised, the hockey team wouldn’t have to miss next season.

“That’s something I’d really like to work toward,” he said. “I’m working with students and some faculty, too, to see about getting that moved forward.”

Having $50,000, it seems would be a starting point for the team.

“Even though we’re looking at a savings of roughly $100,000 by terminatin­g the program, with $50,000 we think we could negotiate our way through this coming year if there were a business plan that will ensure there’s going to be external funding that will sustain our hockey program,” Krispin said.

“It’s always going to be part of the tuition, part of (the cash coming via) tuitional support by scholarshi­ps, but there has to be something more, there has to be a third leg that supports the program and that has been far too short to this point.

“What we’re looking at is if we have a $50,000 or $75,000 infusion, that would help give us the capacity to work toward raising funds during the year to deal with that $100,000 shortfall.”

Koning said that students at Concordia were stunned by the news.

“There is more to university than just the education aspect and I think it’s really unfortunat­e to the overall environmen­t of Concordia University College, if this does move forward.”

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