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the University of British Columbia varsity mens hockey team
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VANCOUVER -- Milan Dragicevic is determined not to go down without a fight. Dragicevic, coach of the University of British Columbia varsity mens hockey team, is on a mission to keep his program going as its future remained in doubt Tuesday. The school announced 16 teams, from the current 29, that will play next season -- but mens hockey wasnt among those approved. "It was really disappointing, obviously -- disappointing for the players, disappointing for the program, disappointing for the alumni -- and all the hard work thats (been done) for this program for the last 100 years," said Dragicevic. "And for (university administrators) to even consider putting this program as a non-varsity (program), its a slap in the face, I think." UBC has played a key role in Canadas national hockey development. The late Father David Bauer and former UBC athletic director Bob Hindmarch established the first Canadian national team on campus in 1963. The universitys sport review advisory team is in the midst of examining the athletics department and determining which teams should stay at the varsity level. The fate of the 13 other teams will be decided at the end of February, giving Dragicevic and the programs supporters about six weeks to save the mens hockey program. Teams receiving a passing grade include: womens ice hockey and womens field hockey, mens and womens basketball, mens football, mens rugby and womens volleyball. "Mens hockey is gonna stay," said Dragicevic. "I have a feeling that its going to stay. Im very confident, and as I told all the players today, our alumni group is a very powerful group. They support our program. It doesnt matter about wins and losses. Its all about player development and development for life afterward." Administrators contend the varsity teams annual budget, which has been raised by $200,000 to $6.4 million, is insufficient for so many high-performance teams. "We simply could not have gone on with 29 varsity teams," said Louise Cowin, UBCs vice-president of students, during a news conference. "And, its not just a question of financial resources." Cowin added that UBCs athletics program was on "an unsustainable path" and other Canadian universities have been struggling with the same issues. She pointed to the University of Toronto, Queens, Carlton, University of New Brunswick, Trent and Brock as examples of post-secondary institutions where the number of varsity teams has been reduced. But Dragicevic called his teams omission from the approved list "shocking" given hockeys popularity and rich history in Canada. "Its Canadas national sport," said Dragicevic. "Weve been around for a long time. It kind of blows your mind that they would consider this, when you look at the tradition and the community involvement that we have. At the end of the day, I believe theyre gonna say hockey is a no-brainer to keep at the varsity level." The approvals came after teams submitted reasons why their programs should continue. The mens field hockey team is also determined to retain its varsity status after missing out in the first stage. "I thought we fit the criteria very well," said Arif Virjee, a player who with the team who also sits on UBCs athletes council. He cited players strong academics, national team representatives and the teams long history as factors in its favour. "Weve had national team players stretching back to the 1950s," he said. Virjee, who is in his last year at UBC, feels mostly for young players who hope to continue with the program. "This is my last year at the university," he said. "I think its more disappointing for first and second-year players. They made choices in coming here. They have to make some decisions going forward." Other notable omissions from the approved list include womens soccer, even though UBC is a national soccer training centre that Canadian womens team coach John Herdman has pledged to use for training and player development, mens and womens golf and mens baseball. The baseball team has supplied a number of players, including pitcher Jeff Francis, to the major leagues and Canadas Olympic team. Varsity teams are being graded on a number of criteria set out by the university, including success in competition, coaching strength, history, alumni support and even attendance, which is traditionally low for most sports on campus. Cowin and Ashley Howard, UBCs managing director of athletics and recreation, were surprised that 16 teams passed the first stage of the review. They had expected fewer teams to qualify. Howard said the approved teams made the based on their current situations and decisions were not based on new alumni funding support. But, she said, new funding programs will be considered for teams seeking to be approved as part of the second stage. The review process has generated strong opposition from some alumni and current donors with many concerned some teams are being unfairly targeted for their high cost and lack of recent success. Derek Swain, head of an alumni group who has been battling to keep programs alive, was not impressed with what he heard at the news conference, contending that administrators have not been as transparent as they claim to be. He said the administrations plan has been "highly flawed" while the review has "an unnecessary and divisive process." "Im hopeful though that they got the message that varsity athletics are very important and theyre very important to the community at large," said Swain, a former UBC basketball player. Swain said alumni groups are planning to withhold donations to the university if teams lose their varsity status. He said its important to recognize that former varsity athletes contribute more to the universitys general coffers than other graduates. But Swain, who criticized administrators for not including more people with varsity sports experience in the review process, said hes hopeful that some programs can be saved.   Ian Happ Jersey . - The New England Patriots needed help on defence so they added three experienced players at midseason. Jason Heyward Cubs Jersey . Its the second of three meetings between these teams this season.  Vancouver was a 2-1 winner on home ice December 22nd. http://www.thecubsteamshop.com/Customized/ . Jamies number grades given are out of five, with five being the best mark. Marc-Andre Fleury, Penguins (3) - Surrendered a tough first goal against on a deflection through the body short side. Willson Contreras Cubs Jersey . The roster changes have been constant and continuous since late last year, but even with their 46-man roster set for the start of the season, the banged-up Bombers will be kicking off Week 1 with a handful of fresh faces and back-ups in the starting lineup. Steve Cishek Jersey . The Senators will put the busy off-season and training camp behind them when they open their regular season on the road. They kick things off Friday against the Buffalo Sabres and then head to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs on Saturday.BARCELONA, Spain -- Neymar came on as a substitute to score twice from passes by Lionel Messi and give Barcelona a 2-0 win at home over Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish league on Saturday. Neymar again started on Barcelonas bench and had to watch Munir El Haddadi create Barcelonas best chances until he replaced the young forward in the 62nd minute. But Messi soon played Neymar clear for the Brazil forward to score his first goal of the season in the 79th.dddddddddddd Five minutes later Messi dribbled to the end line before passing back for Neymar to slot in his second and seal Barcelonas third win in as many games. Real Madrid hosted Atletico Madrid later in a rematch of last seasons Champions League final. Barcelona opens its Champions League campaign at home against APOEL on Wednesday, when Bilbao hosts Shakhtar Donetsk. ' ' '
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