Generous couple score a goal for women’s hockey

Sheryl and David Kerr have a long affiliation with varsity ice hockey. Both played for Montreal’s McGill University when they attended in the 1960s – in fact, they met when David agreed to help coach the Martlets in 1963.

The couple recently demonstrated their love of the game with a gift of $50,000 to York’s varsity women’s ice hockey program. The gift, along with matching funds from the Ontario Trust for Student Support, will be endowed to create the Sheryl & David Kerr Bursary for Women’s Ice Hockey. The bursary will be awarded to a female varsity ice hockey player demonstrating financial need.

Right: Courtney Unruh of the Lions women’s hockey team. Photo by Alex Pylyshyn.

"Ice hockey played a significant role in our university careers, so it made sense to lend our support to York’s talented players," says Sheryl.

"It’s also an expensive sport, and knowing that the cost can be prohibitive for some players was another factor in our decision to support the women’s team," adds David.

The Kerrs are actively involved with several charitable organizations and are known for their generosity. The family has been linked to York for more than a decade: David is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Schulich School of Business, and their daughter, Tamara, is a 2002 graduate of the kinesiology & health science program.

The Kerrs chose to support a strong contender: the Lions have enjoyed great success over their 42-year history, playing their way to three Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships. In the 2009-2010 season, the team finished third in the OUA and tenth nationally.

"On behalf of the York Lions ice hockey family, I’m extremely grateful for the Kerrs’ generosity," says Dan Church, head coach of the women’s hockey team. "Their gift will enable the Lions’ players to continue to chase their dreams of playing university ice hockey and winning provincial and national championships, all while getting a world-class education. The Kerrs are part of a proud athletic family and their gift will contribute to the championship culture here at York."

Right: Dan Church behind the bench with players from York’s women’s ice hockey team

The Kerrs’ gift was attributed to York University Foundation’s York to the Power of 50 fundraising campaign under the category of Transform50 – scholarships, awards and bursaries. The campaign, the largest in York’s history, officially ended on June 3 with the announcement of a $207-million achievement.