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Dawson College axes men’s hockey team

Click to play video 'Dawson College cuts hockey program' Dawson College cuts hockey program
WATCH: The Dawson College Blues men's hockey team has been around for six years, but as Global's Phil Carpenter reports, the college has decided to axe the team next season for financial reasons – Feb 27, 2018

Dawson College says it’s discontinuing the men’s hockey program effective next season. The college cites money as the reason.

Dan Boyer, student services and athletics co-ordinator at Dawson says keeping the team was just too expensive.

“Last year’s budget was in the neighbourhood of $111,000,” he tells Global News.  “But if you want to do a proper Division 1 men’s program, given the current situation with the number of games, we would need a budget of $170,000 – $200,00.”

The Dawson College Blues practice out of the Westmount arena because they don’t have a home of their own.  Despite that, they’ve had a good season and have made the playoffs.

READ MORE: Dawson College student designs ‘BreakBuddy’ app to make most of free time

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“We’ve been doing better since the news has been announced, ironically,” coach Carl Benoit said.

The Blues are currently one of three men’s teams from English language CEGEPs in the provincial league, including Champlain College in Lenoxville and Champlain St. Lawrence in Quebec City.

Dawson’s team is the only one on the island of Montreal.

READ MORE: Dawson College basketball community disappointed Raptors won’t be coming to Montreal

Coaches and players alike, are not happy with the decision to cancel the program.

“Yeah, we were really pissed off,” fumes Vincent Cournoyer, a social science student and member of the team.

“We have two English universities on the island of Montreal that play hockey, between Mc Gill and Concordia,” assistant coach Roberto Gomez said.  “We have no collegiate team now, so how’re you supposed to feed the universities?”

There are now fewer options for anglophone high school kids in Montreal who want to play elite hockey.

“I always wanted to go to an English CEGEP to practice my English, and it was only Dawson that offered [a hockey programme],” Cournoyer said. “There’s another one, St Lawrence, but that’s in Quebec, and I really wanted to stay at home.”
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But there might be a bit of hope for these elite players.  Gomez has started a programme aimed at kids of college age who want to play hockey.

“We’ve created the Montreal Hockey Academy.  “We’ve opened it up to our existing collegiate players and high school players.”

Members of the Dawson team already have a guaranteed spot at the academy which opens in September at the Pierrefonds Sportsplex.