Yesterday, Brad E. Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald reported that 11 former University of North Dakota women’s hockey players are filing a discrimination suit against the University System.
The lawsuit alleges Title IX violations stemming from the program being cut in March 2017.
The players in the suit are Breanna Berndsen, Kristen Campbell, Charly Dahlquist, Taylor Flaherty, Ryleigh Houston, Anna Kilponen, Rebekah Kolstad, Sarah Lecavalier, Alyssa MacMillan, Annelise Rice, and Abbey Stanley.
They all have transferred to other schools to continue their hockey careers and want the team to be reinstated. The players are not seeking financial damages beyond court costs, Schlossman reported.
Dan Siegel, their attorney, told Schlossman, “That’s our No. 1, No. 2 ... all the way to No. 10 goal ... We want the university to start playing women’s ice hockey again.”
Siegel is the same attorney who represented Shannon Miller when she sued University of Minnesota Duluth in a discrimination case after her head coach contract was not renewed, although he said the cases are of a different nature.
UND has an extremely storied place in the history of women’s hockey since the program started in 2002. Team USA gold medalists Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando are alumna of the team. Three other UND alumna — Michelle Karvinen, Susanna Tapani and Vilma Tanskanen — were in the PyeongChang Olympics, representing Finland.
The program being cut ahead of last season was a major hit in the women’s hockey landscape. The university mishandled the cut, as news leaked out on social media before players and coaches knew, putting a sour note on an already unpleasant situation. The team also had a recruit on a trip to the university that same day.