What’s Going On
It was a normal Wednesday in March until a group of women made a potentially game-changing decision in women’s hockey history. The United States of America’s women’s team is boycotting. The 2016 world championship team has elected not to play the tournament taking place in Plymouth, Michigan, on the 31st of March. This decision, coming from the players of the team, is due in part to year-long negotiations between USA Hockey with the USA women’s hockey team, that haven’t amounted to much. But why exactly is the women’s team boycotting?
Exactly Why is the Women’s Team Boycotting?
The sentence that is constantly being quoted and said by everyone involved in the situation is that the women’s national team is looking for “fair wages and equitable support.” The salary of a member of the USA women’s national hockey team as it is now is 1,000 dollars a month during and around the time of the Olympics. That means that only 6 months out of 4 years the women of the team are getting paid. Duggan mentions that the team is “asked to train and compete and perform full time, yet [the women’s national team is] not compensated for it.” The team is not doing this just because of the money the players of the team earn. They’re doing it for the insufficient funding women’s youth hockey gets. The US’ men’s youth national team development program gets funded 3.5 million. The women’s youth national team development program gets funded 0.0 million… it doesn’t exist.
Why USA Hockey Isn’t Budging
USA Hockey is defending themselves. In their statement regarding the team’s boycott, they mention that a number of female hockey players has gone from “23,000 players in 1998 to more than 73,000 today.” This is to say that USA Hockey has been the reason that the number has gone up by more than three times. The organization has also said that “USA Hockey’s role is not to employ athletes and we will not do so.” This was in response to the complaints of unlivable pay. But, as put earlier in the article, Duggan mentions that the team is asked to live and breathe hockey while also not being paid sufficiently for it.
Talks of an Agreement
There are talks in place between the two groups as of now. On the 20th, a statement came from USA Hockey saying that they had “productive meetings.” It seems like the goal of these meetings for USA Hockey is to try to get the original players all back in for the tournament. Without these players, they will have to go with a much more unskilled group and most likely won’t even medal. Co-Captain Lamoureux-Morando mentions that she believes that the sudden productive talks have been because of the boycott. The Co-Captain mentions that “sometimes it takes drastic measures or drastic actions to be heard.” Well, they’ve definitely been heard.
The women of the USA team did everything right. They knew that they were going to be ignored unless they did something and they did just that. In standing up for themselves, they’ve set a precedent that they wouldn’t be pushed to the side anymore. If the team gets the money and funding for young player’s programs this could be a seriously great underdog story.
Photo Credits: Brian Snyder