GREAT FALLS — Early last week, the University of Providence announced it would be discontinuing its women’s ice hockey program, which was announced in 2017 but never played any games. In a press release from June 30, UP said the decision was not related to COVID-19 but was based on lack of enrollment in the program.
However, the decision was a surprise to the team. Anna Knox, who was set to be a junior at the university this fall, was part of the original recruiting class for the program in 2018. The team had just five players on the roster in the 2019-20 season.
Knox said after speaking with head coach Greg Moore in mid-June, she was under the impression that the roster size had grown to roughly 13 players, enough to play games. When Moore called back a few weeks later to deliver the news that the program was being discontinued, Knox was stunned.
"I didn't really understand it. What do you mean? What do you mean this is happening?" Knox said.
Knox expressed excitement at the opportunity to play for Moore, who was hired in 2019 as the program's second head coach. According to UP's press release, Moore will transition to an assistant role with the men's program.
As of July 10, Knox said she and her sister Eve, who was also on the team, had yet to receive any other contact from the university about the decision.
"The only reason we kept staying was because there were some people just saying, 'Oh, come on, you guys are going to be the pioneers. Next year. We're going to get the team next year. We're going to get a team,'" she said. "And then, oh, there it goes."