After a week of uncertainty Bowling Green’s Hockey program will be around for the 2009-10 school year. One week away from Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1984 national championship it seemed quite feasible their would never be a 26th anniversary. All that changed at around 2 pm Tuesday afternoon.
“I wanted to let you know we will field all 18 of our sports teams for the 2009-10 school year,” BG athletic director Greg Christopher said in an open letter to Falcon fans.
In the letter Christopher explained that why’ll there will be budget cuts that will greatly effect athletic programs, no athletic program would be cut completely. Rumors of cutting the hockey program turned into much more of a reality last Wednesday, when rumor turned into fact in an article by the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune.
According to BGSU president Dr. Carol Cartwright, she had no idea how the rumors picked up so much momentum so quickly. It was a similar situation for the current Falcon players who were on spring break when the story started to break.
“I kind of woke up to it last Wednesday,” said BG leading scorer Dan Sexton. “I got a phone call, it just spread so fast it was everywhere.”
The hardest part for the players was not knowing the status of the program and not getting any direct information until they returned to campus on Monday.
Team captain Kyle Page was actually in town when the news broke and found out about the programs possible demise walking down the street.
“I ran into people, local people, who knew more about it then I did,” said Page.
When the players did return to campus Monday, BG coach Scott Paluch hosted a team meeting to answer questions about the news and to start preparing for the next season. According to Paluch the team was pretty upbeat after the meeting and was ready to move on towards the 2009-10 season.
According to Cartwright budget cuts will be made across the university, not just athletics for the next school year.
“We haven’t asked athletics to do anything that is unusual,” Cartwright said. “The university is looking at an economic situation, so that means everyone who has responsibility for managing budgets has to look at how they’re going to meet the target they are given.”
One of the bigger rumors suggesting the end of Falcon hockey was the fact that Cartwright was president at Kent State when they cut their hockey program following the 1993-94 season. According to Cartwright the situation at Kent State was much different then BG’s.
When Kent State committed to joining the Central Collegiate Hockey Association they committed to improving facilities and of other significance. These commitments had a large price tag associated with them and Kent found it more cost beneficial to cut the hockey program, rather than struggle to compete in the CCHA.
“It had nothing to do with my personal preferences,” Cartwright said. “Do you really think I would have found my way to BG just to cut a hockey program?”
Despite the rumors support for Falcon hockey received a shot in the arm since last Wednesday. The Facebook group, “Save BGSU Hockey!” has over 8,000 members and orange flyers in support of Falcon hockey program completely circle the inside walls of the ice rink.
The quick rush in program support is something that didn’t surprise Paluch.
“It’s clear that, and it didn’t take anything like this for me to be aware, of the support our program has,” Paluch said.