Allegation of sexism at the Cégep de Saint-Laurent, female hockey in danger

The future of the women’s hockey program at Cégep de Saint-Laurent is uncertain due to « very difficult recruitment », while ex-coaches and athletes are making allegations of sexism towards the director of the program.

A letter was recently sent to recruits who were to join the Patriotes du Cégep de Saint-Laurent next season to inform them that they were released from the program.

“Our very difficult recruitment of players as well as the recruitment of quality coaches means that we have to stop”, can we read in the email signed by the director of the Patriotes program, Hugo Lamoureux, and whose Subway got a copy.

The players in the current squad were subsequently informed during a meeting.

A meeting between Cégep Student Services and the players was held on May 12 to discuss the longer term future of the program. The decision was then made to put the program on hold for at least a year.

A decried decision

It is in this context that two former coaches of the Patriotes du Cégep Saint-Laurent claim to have been sacked because of their sex. A decision that would have led to the departure of several players.

It was on April 12 that Léa McIntyre, the assistant coach and head of recruiting, learned that she was losing her job during a phone call with Hugo Lamoureux.

“He told me word for word ‘the only problem is that you are women and I would rather work with a man, it’s easier’”, she says during an interview with Subway.

In a Facebook post, head coach Alexandria D’Onofrio says preparations are already well underway for next season.

“Everything has been put in place, recruitment has been done throughout the year to prepare for a better and brighter future. Then came the sexist phone call that set everything back. Léa and I were fired because we were women.”

Alexandria D’Onofrio, ex-head coach

The duo had been in office since September when coach Dany Brunet, who was to be at the helm of the team for the season, was unable to take up the post for personal reasons.

A difficult season of 5 wins and 23 losses followed. This was their first college experience.

« Alexandria had to adapt to a squad they hadn’t chosen, so it wasn’t easy, but at the end of the season we were starting to get good feedback from opposing coaches for our progress, » continues assistant coach Léa McIntyre. “We thought there was a possibility [qu’on ne revienne pas l’an prochain]but we would never have guessed the reason.”

The Cégep de Saint-Laurent, the Patriotes du Cégep de Saint-Laurent and the director of the program, Hugo Lamoureux, did not respond to our interview requests regarding the end of the program and the allegations of sexism.

Departure of players

The day after the dismissal, the players of the team were made aware of the situation by Hugo Lamoureux during a meeting.

« We were told that the main criteria for the next head coach would be that he should be a man with a bigger age difference and more experience. »

Anaëlle Cordon, hockey player for the Cégep de Saint-Laurent Patriotes

The player was not surprised that her coaches were fired. She believes that several of her teammates wanted there to be a change in this regard. But like many other players, she took steps to change teams when she learned the reasons that led to this decision.

« I was one of the first to look for something else because dismissing someone because it’s a woman doesn’t work, » she explains. Management was aware that Alexandria was in its infancy as coach at our level and they didn’t support her enough. »

This situation occurs a little more than a week after the tabling of the report of the Quebec Committee on the development of hockey. This committee noted that women’s hockey is in decline compared to other Canadian provinces.

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