And you thought you had a rough Wednesday.
Lauren Hennessey, a top girls hockey goalie from the Boston area, is a North Dakota women’s hockey commit who expected to compete for the team in 2017. That was all before she flew across the country on Wednesday and arrived on campus just in time to learn that the entire program was being eliminated, at exactly the same time and in exactly the same way as everyone else did.
According to Fargo’s Inforum, Hennessey and her parents left their house in Lynnfield at 4:30 a.m. en route to Grand Forks. They arrived on campus shortly after noon, spent a pair of hours touring the school and the athletic facilities where she assumed she would train, and then was brought in by the coaching staff and informed that the entire program was being cut from the athletic department for the 2017-18 season. She, along with the entire existing team and coaching staff, would be out of a scholarship and role.
“This puts me in a very tough situation,” Hennessey told Inforum. “My dream of playing Division I hockey is now slim-to-none. … I rejected a lot of Division I offers to come to UND.”
It’s possible that the decision could still be reversed, should private funding come through to help close the gap in state funding that necessitated the end of the women’s hockey and men’s and women’s swimming and diving programs. Still, that’s more a desperate hope than a likely reality for one of the proudest programs in women’s hockey, which produced a whopping eight of the U.S. Olympic roster at the 2014 Games.
“My parents and I were in complete shock,” Hennessey told Inforum. “It all took a while to sink in before we realized what was truly happening. … “I’ve followed this team since I was a little girl. I am hoping that the support and love for hockey in this town will help save the program.”