Women’s hockey: a glimmer of hope in the collective league

According to Radio Canada’s learning, CEGEP management on Monday met with the former coach who agreed to a possible re-launch of the program, which was confirmed by the organization’s management at the end of the day.

The rumor also reached the ears of the players, who will meet on Tuesday evening, and they confirmed to the Sejib management.

Advertising last week from mise sur pause“,”text”:”mise sur pause”}}”>Pause From the program, a euphemism according to the player talking about deleting the team – it caused a lot of ink to flow. Olympic champion and coach of the Concordia Stingers and ex-Ségépé de Saint Laurent Caroline Oillet has sparked outrage on social networks.

Opposition deputies Enrico Ciccone and Christine Saint-Pierre, whose constituency CEGEP is located, also responded.

Behind the scenes, according to our information, the office of the Minister of Education responsible for sports and recreation, Isabelle Charest, has been active and put pressure on the management of the institution. Announcing the closure of the college’s major program, a week after the release of a hockey recovery report that promised to focus on developing women’s hockey, was not well received.

Isabelle Charest knows that the program has been in danger since May 11, assures her cabinet, even if the minister spoke about April 11 in a call obtained by Radio Canada Sports. Alexandria Patriots coach Donofrio was fired on April 12.

Minister Charst and [Danielle] What was [ministre de l’Enseignement supérieur] She would very much like to maintain the women’s hockey program at the Cégep de Saint-Laurent, Minister Charest’s office wrote in an email to Radio-Canada Sports. That is why steps were taken last week, once ministers were informed of the situation, in order to cooperate with the various partners involved. The priority remains to maintain the supply of women’s hockey and the Government is offering its full cooperation with Cégep de Saint-Laurent in order to facilitate matters. We keep in touch with management to help them move the file forward quickly.

However, there are still some hurdles to overcome in order to reintegrate the Patriotes du Cégep de Saint-Laurent into the first division.

First and foremost, this agreement between the Student Sports Network of Quebec (RSEQ) and Hockey Quebec (HQ) regarding the reform of the College League to reduce it from seven to six teams starting from the 2024-2025 season.

Patriots player Megan Meron confirmed Friday that the RSEQ team seemed to see the program’s difficulties as an occasion to put an end to it, thus adhering, two years ago, to their policy with six teams.

An ambush would have occurred since: RSEQ and Hockey Quebec could have agreed to keep D1 in seven teams.

If the re-launch is confirmed, Saint-Laurent will take the opportunity to restructure the program, for example, to offer a more attractive ice time for the women’s team, which until then could only train at noon.

A letter of support from one hundred alumni program

The pressure to re-launch the program does not come only from the political offices.

In a letter written by Isabelle Leclerc, the Carabins’ principal trainer at the University of Montreal, and sent to the Director of Student Services and Communications at the Cégep de Saint-Laurent, one hundred former team members or former employees ask for justifications from the educational institution.

Isabelle Leclerc is the hockey coach for the University of Montreal Carabines.

Photo: Courtesy/Karabins of the University of Montreal/James Hajjar

Among the signatories, we find in particular the names of Olympic athletes Caroline Owlette, Daniel Sauvago and Isabel Charland, as well as many of the team’s former coaches, including Hugo Beausoleil.

In the letter in particular, Isabelle Leclerc wrote:

Many of us today, sometimes long after our time with the Patriots, have been people who have been involved in women’s hockey in a variety of positions. This program is a pioneer of our sport in Quebec and has a tremendous heritage that not only must be preserved, but must also be preserved.

Our grief has given way to many questions in the past few days about the alleged reasons for the program’s closure. This information appears to be contradictory regarding the challenges of recruiting players and coaches for the upcoming season. Not to mention the information conveyed about the desire to prioritize a male trainer which is concerning. What is it really?continues Isabel Liquier.

It concludes by referring to the latest schedule of the report on the future of hockey in Quebec, commissioned by the Legault government.

The withdrawal of the women’s hockey program contradicts the recommendations of the report of the Quebec Committee for the Development of Hockey, published on April 22. Abandoning the program also goes against the ideas and suggestions emanating from the Final Report of the Women’s Hockey Summit held in June 2021. We must continue to build, not reduce, the offer of services for female players.

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