While their on-ice success is substantially different, their off-ice scholarship money does not provide much of a gap. Both the St. Thomas University and University of New Brunswick men’s hockey teams give out well over $100,000 a year to their athletes in scholarships.
The Tommies, who have 19 players on their active roster, gave out $111,583 in scholarship money for the 2012-13 season. However, the distribution to each player is not allowed to be given through a right to information request, as it as seen an invasion of privacy.
Tommies captain, Felix Antoine-Poulin, says that he doesn’t know how much he got this year in scholarship money, but adds that “I know I am really fortunate to get a scholarship.”
The Varsity Reds gave $119,586.50 in scholarships for this season to their hockey team. They had 25 active players on the roster this season.
The difference in the on-ice success is substantial however. The V-Reds recently won their fourth title in seven years; the Tommies haven’t made the playoffs in five years and have never won a national title.
According to the RTI request from UNB, the men’s hockey head coach, Gardiner MacDougall, salary falls in the $75,000 – $99,999.99 band, but the specific number cannot be given for the same reason as the player scholarship figure cannot be given. The assistant coaches at UNB earn no more than $60,000.
When breaking down the average scholarship amount given to each player, with the assumption that all players are on scholarship, at St. Thomas it amounts to $5,872.90 a player, while at UNB it is $4,783.44. However, it must be noted that not every player on both active rosters is on a scholarship.
Poulin says he was offered scholarships from a variety of schools but decided to pick St. Thomas.
“There were five schools that offered me a scholarship after my junior season, in the Maritimes and back home in Montreal. I decided to come to STU because I fell in love with the campus after I visited with my parents and I liked the philosophy of the [hockey] program,” he said.
While Poulin could have played hockey elsewhere, he picked St. Thomas because it was a better fit for him and was less concerned about the scholarship he was offered.
“I committed to St.Thomas because I thought the program was the right fit for me. I liked all the discussions I had with Mike [Eagles] and Troy [Ryan] about the program.”
Jeffrey Carleton, head of communications, says that players decide which school to attend based on what they’re currently seeking.
“It depends on each player and where they are in their career and their seriousness about school,” he said.
He adds that if a hockey player is seeking to turn pro upon graduation of university, then that factor heavily weighs into their decision, rather than if they earn scholarship money.
“Where they play their hockey may be key because they’re want to be in a high profile program that gives them a stepping stone to an East Coast, southern American hockey league or perhaps Europe,” he said.
But Carleton says that every player comes to university for different reasons and it’s not subject to just scholarship money.
“Some players will come for scholarship money because they may not have other options, they may feel they’re at the end of the line and come and find this wonderful opportunity at St. Thomas, while some may come just to play hockey and hope to discover something while they’re here.”