Women’s Hockey Returns To Potsdam

Women’s hockey will return to SUNY Potsdam after a more than 20-year absence.

The program will begin in 2007-08 with club status for one year and then change to a Division III varsity team in 2008-09. The decision to add women’s hockey resulted after a two-year study of athletics equity issues and an effort to comply with Title IX regulations.

“We are pleased to be able to provide additional athletic opportunities for our female students to comply with Title IX regulations for balanced athletic opportunities,” said Potsdam president Dr. John F. Schwaller. “The College had the choice to increase women’s participation in athletics and to add women’s sports or to cut existing men’s sports. Unfortunately, some colleges across the country have been forced to disband men’s teams. Anytime we can increase opportunities for our students, we are eager to do so. We saw a definite advantage to adding opportunities for women, and it reinforces SUNY Potsdam’s commitment to invest in gender equity in all facets of the institution.”

“Our department is tremendously excited by this addition and motivated to begin the work ahead of us that will contribute to the development of an intercollegiate program that has the potential to be a huge success,” said Jim Zalacca, athletics director.

“With the publicity surrounding women’s hockey over the past two Olympic Games, the sport has risen in popularity in both the United States and Canada,” said Tom Nesbitt, director of admissions. “Programs are starting at colleges and universities all over the United States and many of the best players for those programs are coming from within a 200 mile radius of our campus.

“Women’s hockey will be a fantastic addition to our offerings as we look to attract more quality students to our campus,” Nesbitt noted. “Adding the sport will give local players a chance to continue participating close to home. It will also provide players from the Syracuse and Canadian markets another venue at which to consider playing.”

The lack of other women’s hockey teams and budget cutbacks caused the previous team to fold in 1984.

Potsdam will be the fifth member of the SUNYAC to have women’s hockey while two other SUNYAC institutions are currently in the process of creating teams. Seven SUNYAC schools with teams would allow the conference to field a women’s hockey league.