Deal reached to preserve Augustana Vikings hockey program

The University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus and the Augustana Vikings Hockey Alumni Association say they've reached an agreement to preserve the school's hockey program. 

The school says a deal was signed on June 28, nearly four months after the hockey team issued a letter stating provincial budget cuts left it facing a significant funding shortfall.

“The longevity and success of the Vikings is entrusted in this agreement,” Augustana Dean Demetres Tryphonopoulos said in a release.

“And I would like to offer our thanks to our Alumni Hockey Association for their imagination, spirit of generosity, passion for the program and hard work. Without this group’s initiative and persistence, none of this would have been possible.”

Specifics of the deal aren't being released though Tryphonopoulos describes the signed agreement as a "living document" with some elements still to be worked out. 

“We still have a lot of hard work to do,” Dean Prpick, vice-president of the association, said in a release. 

“There has been a lot of support in the greater hockey community for the Augustana Vikings, but the job is really just getting started.”

The Vikings are now in their 52nd year of existence and currently compete in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, winning  their first and only ACAC title in the 2011-2012 season.

The U of A says the Vikings Hockey Alumni Association is the only alumni group on the Augustana campus that is incorporated as a non-profit and has already been providing substantial financial support to its team.

The school was an independent institution operating as Augustana College and later Augustana University College until 2004 when it merged with the University of Alberta.