Martlets' million

Martlets' million McGill University

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McGill Reporter
March 15, 2007 - Volume 39 Number 13
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Hockey Martlets receive cool million-dollar gift

Biggest donation in Canadian women’s varsity history

In a world in which creeping cynicism has broken into a full gallop, this is a story that renews a little faith. Earlier this month, McGill alumni David (BSc’65) and Sheryl Kerr (BComm’67) made a landmark donation of $1 million to the McGill Martlets hockey program. The gift, which surpasses the previous record amount given to a Canadian women’s university athletics program by more than $600,000, will ensure that the hockey squad will always have a full-time coach. It is a story of generosity and success, but most of all, it’s a love story.

The Kerrs met as undergrads in 1963, when David, already a member of the Redmen hockey team, agreed to help coach the Martlets.

In her freshman year, Sheryl tried out for and made the team. “Initially, playing hockey for the university was my whole life,” said Sheryl Kerr. “The camaraderie in athletics was wonderful for me and that’s where I first met my husband-to-be.”

Interviewed by phone in Toronto, David Kerr said the gift is a reflection of the cherished time the couple spent at the university.

“Obviously, McGill was an important part of our past and hockey was a really great part of that experience,” he said. “So many aspects of university life can benefit from additional funds, it just seemed natural for us to support the women’s hockey team.”

The donation will allow current Martlet coach Peter Smith to assume a full-time role with the team in an endowed position known as the Kerr Women’s Hockey Coach. “It really sets the tone for someone like myself, who will be an alum next year, to really give back to something that has given me so much,” said current team captain, Shauna Denis, who will lead the No.1 ranked Martlets to the national championship tournament in Ottawa this weekend.

When pressed about the love story angle, David Kerr laughed sheepishly. “That’s your story to write,” he said.

He did, however, give his opinion as coach of his wife as player. “She worked hard and was a really strong skater.”

Not just a love story, a Canadian love story.

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