Reaction to Thursday morning’s announcement that Fairfield was ending men’s ice hockey in a cost-cutting measure.
Gene Doris, Fairfield athletic director
“It’s obviously a tough day for us in terms of needing to cut two programs. It was based on the institution’s priorities on where the money needed to be allocated and where the sports that were cut fit into the athletic priorities when the long-range plan was put into place eight years ago.
“This was not performance-based. If that were the case, there would be a lot of sports that we’d look to drop. When you’re looking for big chunks of money, you have to look for where the big chunks exist.
“This is the first [time] I’ve ever cut anywhere.
“Sometimes to save someone you have to amputate part of the body that’s going to hurt the overall person. To keep the programs we’ve developed into competitive programs … it took this hard edge to really make this happen.
“We haven’t gotten much [feedback from MAAC schools], because most of the schools are affiliate members, not core members to the MAAC. Iona understood because they’ve gone through some difficult budget issues.
“The reality of private education and the cost of doing business are definitely being effected by the economy at this point.”
Jim Hunt, Fairfield coach
“Everybody is going through the gamut of emotion. Disappointment is the first thing that comes to mind.
“I didn’t expect this so I have no reason to think any of [the players] did. We all felt that we were taking small steps in the right direction. They’re still sorting out their emotions now.
“[Finding a home for the players] is the number one priority right now. We have kids with junior eligibility who have to weigh the option of returning to juniors. The other guys, the NCAA allows them to transfer as free agents, and they have 10 games to try to showcase their talent.
“My colleagues in the MAAC have been nothing but supportive today.
“We have a series that we’re getting ready for that is important and each player has something different they’re dealing with.
“I don’t think it was a performance-based decision. This is a very demanding sport economically to support. It’s been an honor and a privilege to work with the kids I’ve worked with, and I’m very thankful for that.”
Rand Pecknold, Quinnipiac coach
“I’m stunned. We’re extremely disappointed for the MAAC in general. Fairfield is one of the founding members.
“They’ve played so many close games this year. They’ve been in a lot of hockey games.
“Four or five years ago they talked about dropping the program, but they made the commitment back then and shelved the issue.
“It’s too early to tell if this is a positive or negative. Right off the bat, I think it’s a negative. They’re a quality institution and a founding member.”
Rich Ensor, MAAC commissioner
“It wasn’t much of a shock because their president talked to me about it. It wasn’t a shock to me even with the overall environment that college athletics face.
“We’ll operate the league as we currently operate it.
“[The expanding of the MAAC hockey scholarship limits from 11] gets revisited every time we have a conference call. It’s always on the table and was just discussed three years ago. I don’t think Fairfield’s coming or going has anything to do with that discussion.
“Fairfield’s withdrawal isn’t the issue. The major issue is the economic climate that we face in higher education.
“There’s some severe financial issues facing higher education and athletics is just a portion of what’s affected. This is an outgrowth of where the economy is more than anything else.
“This may not be the last program in the MAAC or other leagues that might face this pressure. People are going to be looking at cutbacks in the coming years.”