No More Women's Hockey at the University of North Dakota
January 11, 2018

The announcement that the University of North Dakota would be dropping women’s hockey because their budget could no longer include it stunned the state. North Dakota takes the sport very seriously, and it has long been in place as a powerful force unifying the community.

No Warning Was Given

The news of the cut was leaked while the team’s players were on the ice for a practice during the off-season at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, and there was an out-of-state recruit visiting the campus at the time as well.

The North Dakota University women’s hockey league staff, which included the 2-time Olympic silver medallists and twins, Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, who will be well known to those who enjoy Australian sports betting for women’s hockey, received no warning whatsoever. The sisters stumbled upon the news on Twitter, after they had flown to Detroit in order to represent the American team in the World Championships being held there and, needless to say, they were horrified by the announcement.

10 months on, they are still deeply upset.

A Programme that Young Women Idolise

Lamoureux-Morando speaks of the deep respect she felt for the programme growing up. Although her position was as a volunteer assistant, she had every intention of becoming a full-time coach at UND when her playing days were behind her. She mentioned that her father had played at the university, as had her brothers.

What Will Replace the KnightRiders?

Without the KnightRiders, as the team was known, to look up to, the sisters and other members of the community fear that there will be far fewer girls trying ice hockey, and this will endanger over 10 years of steady gains in terms of the Minnesota state’s youth and high school programmes, certainly stifling the emerging talent pipeline.

Brian Idalski, former coach for the women’s hockey team, pointed out that you cannot aspire to be that which you cannot see, and spoke of his concern about what the consequences would be for the region as a whole now that the Division 1 programme was gone.

A Wave of Athletic Budget Cuts

The university dropped many other sports as well, including baseball, men’s and women’s swimming, and men’s golf, in a 2-year wave of cuts to the athletics budgets brought about by a shortfall in the state’s revenue. Men’s golf has been reinstated thanks to external financing, but the same cannot be said for the remainder. What’s even more worrying for those who support women’s hockey is that North Dakota is the 3rd Division 1 member to shut down its women’s programme since 2011: Niagara and Wayne State are the other 2.

Particularly Troubling in the Cradle of the Game

These cuts are of special concern in this region, however, thanks to just how well supported the sport is Grand Forks sees college hockey players as rock stars, with the players not able to step outside without being recognised. The sport locally is as revered as horse racing, rugby and cricket is globally, and this makes all the difference. The fact that young women can no longer skate alongside their heroes is a massive loss to the community , and the long-term consequences are bound to be negative ones.


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