Outrage has been sparked after eleven members of the Oxford Ice Hockey team were denied Blues by the Men’s Blues Committee at a meeting in Vincent’s Club on Tuesday night, despite having played against Cambridge. Their opponents in the match were awarded Blues.
In a meeting at which the Ice Hockey team were not entitled to vote, the Committee, formed of student representatives from all Blues sports, voted by a large majority to deny eleven Ice Hockey team members a University Blue as their team is not registered with the Proctors or with the Oxford University Sports Federation.
They disaffiliated from OUSF last year and the Proctors denied their request to renew their affiliation a few months later. They were denied the right to use the word ‘University’ in its name, and played the match against Cambridge as ‘Oxford Blues Ice Hockey’Ê¼.
The team said they disaffiliated to protest at “a year-long campaign of unethical treatment against our team by OUSF”. They claimed that OUSF misinformed the ice rink they use on the status of the team’s insurance, resulting in a suspension of that season’s hire of the rink. The Federation also wrote to the Cambridge team threatening legal action over the status of the 93rd Varsity match, which was played in March of this year.
The decision over Blues is a blow: “We resigned in good faith with careful consideration of all published documentation in relation to the Blues Committee, the University Regulations and Proctors Memorandum, all of which shows that there is no published documentation or regulations that state that a team’s registration with the Proctors, via the Sports Federation, has any relationship to a team’s Blues status or membership of the Blues Committee,” the ice hockey captain wrote in an email to the Blues committee President.
Cambridge nonetheless awarded its own Ice Hockey team members Blues after the Varsity match, played in March in Peterborough. The decision leaves the exact status of University Ice Hockey, which has been played between Oxford and Cambridge since 1885, unclear.
The Blues Committee argues that the University team is the Oxford Vikings, who constitute the Ice Hockey second team, but the disaffiliated members have pointed out that this team is in fact a Brookes team as 16 of the 25 members of the Vikings are non- Oxford University students. It remains disputed as to which team is now the Oxford University team.
The Blues Committee President, Max Denning, told Cherwell, “The committee concluded that in order to represent Oxford University, and receive the benefits that come with representation, at least some kind formal link is required between a sports team and the University.”
Later, the committee voted on a separate proposal to alter their constitution to say thatÊ»”Clubs are required to be affiliated with University Proctors”Ê¼ in order to prevent further issues. The Ice Hockey team told Cherwell, “We have a long and compelling story to tell. However, we have always sought to resolve issues through fair and forthright discussions… We are sad to lose our Blues status which we have held since 1933. However, we wish the Blues Committee the best of luck and are looking forward to a bright future for ice hockey at Oxford.”