No varsity hockey on horizon for DC

High costs and lack of demand are the reasons Durham College has no hockey at a varsity level, says the school's director of athletics. Photo credit: Rachelle Baird

It’s one of our national pastimes, a sport in which Canadians take pride.

But you won’t find any varsity hockey being played at Ontario colleges.

In fact, there hasn’t been varsity hockey in the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) since 2004. The last time Durham College (DC) had a varsity hockey team was 1973, says Ken Babcock, DC’s director of athletics and recreation.

Costs to ice a team are one of the reasons hockey is not played at a college level. Students do not want to pay the fees,and the funds could be used elsewhere, according to Babcock. The demand is also not as high when compared to other sports, he adds.

If any sport was to be currently considered to be added at the varsity level it would be cross-country running, curling or badminton, because those sports are also played at a national collegiate level, says Chris Cameron, DC’s sports information and special events coordinator.

Durham was interested in bringing hockey back in 2004, but not enough colleges were to make it a reality, says Babcock. There needs to be at least five colleges within the OCAA interested in order to bring the sport back at the college level, according to Babcock.

Students who want to play hockey, can do so through intramurals or get involved with a community-based team.

Since there is no OCAA hockey league and the costs to have a team are high, the possibility of hockey coming back at a varsity level in the near future is slim, Babcock says.

While there is no OCAA hockey on campus, there is university hockey being played by the men’s and women’s teams at UOIT.

The Chronicle asked Scott Barker, director of athletics at UOIT, the costs associated with running the Ridgebacks’ hockey programs.

“We are not at liberty to disclose those costs, however, the budget is developed from a combination of student fees, university operational dollars, team fundraising and sponsorships,” says Barker, in an email.

Next home game for the UOIT men’s team is Friday, Oct. 12, with a rare 11:30 a.m. start time against Queen’s at the Campus Ice Centre.

The women host Nipissing later in the day at 7:30 p.m.