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Co-ed hockey league cut

Some intramural players have walked away since losing Memorial Arena. (Bryn Karcha photo)
Some intramural players have walked away since losing Memorial Arena. (Bryn Karcha photo)

Some recreational women’s hockey players are dissatisfied with the opportunities available to them at Dalhousie after the slashing of the co-ed league this year.

Following the demolition of Dal’s rink this August, the number of teams in Dal’s intramural leagues
was reduced from 43 to 28.

Andrew Harding, campus recreation coordinator at Dal Athletics, says 28 teams is the maximum number they can accommodate given the ice time allocated to them at the Halifax Forum and the attached Civic Centre.

This year there are three leagues within Dal’s intramural hockey program: men’s A, men’s B and the residence league. But one is missing.

“The one league we don’t have for ice hockey this year is the open rec, also known as co-ed rec,” says Harding. The co-ed league made up seven of the 43 teams last year. He says it is not mandatory to have only female players on the co-ed teams.

Although some of the men’s B teams have female players, the majority of women since the cut have had no other choice but to try playing in the residence league.

“It was difficult to sign up for residence teams because I’m not in a residence,” says Michaela Mersch, a third-year student at Dal. “Although they did try to send you emails and contacts to teams that needed players, no one ever really replied so it was a big hassle for me to find somewhere to play.”

Emma Thompson-Murphy attributes this hassle to the residence league.

“The elimination of the co-ed team, I think, affected female players more than any group,” says Thompson-Murphy. She added that female players who don’t want to be in the men’s league have to sign up for residence, where spots are limited.

Harding, however, says it was easier for the women to find spots on the residence teams than the men. With approximately 30 ‘free agents’ looking for a place to play, more females were able to fill positions on co-ed residence teams since many of them were short on women.

“It’s a bit tougher to put males on teams for those leagues,” says Harding.

One second-year student, who requested anonymity, knows that too well. He says he had to pretend to be his first-year friend just to play on one of the residence teams.

Despite their best efforts, the girls who have found spots don’t think the residence league is satisfying their needs, especially when it comes to the social aspects.

“Since it is intramurals, it’s supposed to be fun. You want to play with your friends, you want to play with your team,” says Mersch. “So if we all can’t play together, then it’s kind of like…well, I don’t want to play with a bunch of first-years that I don’t know.”

It’s an issue that the girls agree prevented them from playing in Dal intramurals this year.

“It made me consider other options where I had to pay for an alternate women’s league,” says Mersch.

Although there is limited space for players this year, the demand to play hockey seems to be equally low.

“We have 28 teams in our leagues, and we have two teams on the wait list,” says Harding. “In total, we were approached by three teams that wanted to get in but could not get in, so we weren’t approached by as many teams as we had last year.”

Mersch says it is not for a lack of effort on the part of the organization.

“The coordinator of the Dal intramurals was very efficient on top of giving us an opportunity to play, but it was just the fact of there wasn’t enough spots,” she says. “He was very well-organized, but despite his efforts it didn’t get us to where we wanted to be.”

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