By Jon Roe
Instead of dropping two sports from Canadian Interuniversity Sport competition, the Dinos will be adding two squads for the upcoming season.
Women’s rugby and women’s hockey will be making the jump in 2009-10 to the CIS, the competitive league for university athletes across Canada, and men’s soccer and field hockey secured funding to ensure another season against university foes.
The Dinos reorganized to ensure more funding for their core, or league one, programs, which include football, basketball, hockey and volleyball, announcing they would no longer fund men’s soccer and field hockey April 15.
“These [men’s soccer and field hockey] are two of our least successful teams,” Dinos athletics director Kevin Boyles told the Gauntlet after the announcement was made. “We’re just not in a position to invest more dollars in them. What we do we are going to try to do right. We’re choosing to take this funding and focus it in priority areas to make other teams stronger.”
Men’s soccer and field hockey are now labeled as league three programs, which must fund themselves, as will women’s rugby. Dinos athletics also has a league two category for partially funded programs, of which currently only women’s soccer falls under.
Dinos sports information director Ben Matchett said that the absolute bare minimum the men’s soccer program needed to run for the year was $75,000 to $85,000, the majority of which would go to travel and athletic therapy. Field hockey needed $50,000 to $60,000.
To help save money for the upcoming season, new Dinos men’s soccer coach Ken Price will be running the team on a volunteer basis.
“I want to donate my time and efforts to the program because I want to see it succeed,” said Price.
Price took over earlier this month from Andy Gibbs, who resigned in March after 22 seasons with the team. Price played with the soccer club from 1987-92 and helped found the Calgary Dinosaur Soccer Club in 1988.
The Calgary Dinosaur Soccer Club needed to present a plan to help fund the team and have sufficient finances heading into the season to ensure they could compete in the upcoming year.
The new funding arrangement creates challenges for the men’s soccer team, according to Price. He explained that most of the schools in CIS’ Canada West conference offer more incentives to potential athletes than the Dinos can currently and money raised by alumni will have to go to the annual operations of the squad instead of offering athletic scholarships and support funding for athletes.
Women’s hockey will be making the jump to CIS competition after competing in the Alberta Colleges Athletics Conference since 2002-03. The team was a founding member of women’s hockey in Canada West and won the 1998 and 2001 CIS championships, but was moved down to the ACAC after changes in eligibility rules led to on-ice struggles. This year, the team skated away as ACAC champions.
After being a competitive club on campus since 1999, women’s rugby will join the Canada West conference for the 2009-10 season.