By Hanna McLean
There’s some good news for Dalhousie’s women’s hockey team: their days of travelling by bus to Truro to play home games are over. According to a spokesperson at Dal, Saint Mary’s University will be hosting the women next year.
But that doesn’t mean the hockey team will not continue to be affected by the suspension of the majority of the players in January.
Dalhousie suspended 17 out of 22 players in response to a complaint about an initiation party for the team in September. With only five rookies remaining on the team, the suspensions left the team with no choice but to forfeit the remainder of the 2012-2013 season.
Dalhousie’s Charles Crosby is the Senior Advisor of Media and official spokesperson for the university. He says, “most of the players have indicated a clear desire to move forward. We share that goal.”
However, some people don’t seem to be over the incident. “We were shocked at the alleged events and suspicions that followed,” said Saint Mary’s University women’s hockey Head Coach Christopher Larade.
This shock echoed through the country and beyond. There were rumours of players consulting a lawyer after the suspension had been made official, but no legal action has been taken.
Crosby says the behavior of the women’s hockey team has prompted many changes for varsity teams.
“The coach is working with representatives from the university on developing positive team culture, an education program around hazing for all student teams, clubs, societies and leadership groups is under development for September,” he said.
To avoid any parental or overall community concerns about hazing, Crosby confirms there will be, “a more in-depth hazing policy, and a website for the university has been drafted and is being reviewed by administrators/legal to be completed by mid April for Senate approval.”
Larade said Saint Mary’s has no plans to implement anti-hazing resources for their varsity teams, “I think it’s just making sure that players are aware of the expectations that are already put in place.”
Neil Hooper, President of the Atlantic Colleges Athletic Association, acknowledges that success can come from situations like this. “Often what you’ll find in sport are that a lot of the greatest programs we have develop out of adversity. Like the St. Thomas men’s volleyball team for example: they were suspended for a season, and they used it as a spring board to get better, their volleyball team won the championship the next year.”
All eyes will be on the ladies when next season starts up, and hopefully they can bounce back the way the St. Thomas volleyball team did. The Tigers, players, team and staff, have stopped talking to reporters on the matter.