By Ken Reed
No matter how the Women’s World Hockey Championships turn out over the next couple weeks, the USA women’s team has won — and won big.
As I wrote a couple weeks ago, our national women’s hockey team announced it was going to boycott the World Championships unless USA Hockey decided to treat the women’s team more equitably relative to the men’s national hockey team.
“We are asking for a living wage and for USA Hockey to fully support its programs for women and girls and stop treating us like an afterthought,” team captain, Meghan Duggan, said in a statement at the time. “We have represented our country with dignity and deserve to be treated with fairness and respect.”
Well, Tuesday the women’s national hockey team won a battle bigger than any they’ll have in the upcoming World Championships. It was not only a great win for Duggan and her teammates but a great win for young female athletes across the country — and across all sports.
The new contract with USA Hockey will bring players $70,000 annually, a substantial and significant boost from the $6,000 annually they were receiving before. They also gained significantly more support from USA Hockey in other areas, including training conditions.
“We were completely unified,” said Duggan.
“Never a doubt, never a slip, never an ‘I don’t know.’ This was all-in, unanimous. We knew we were doing the right thing the entire time.”
Barry Svrluga has written a great column about the principled stand the women’s team took. If you love stories about what’s good and right in life you’ll love this one.
“Today’s a huge day not just for women’s hockey, but a historic day for women’s sports,” said team vet Monique Lamoureux. “We’re all extremely proud to be a part of it. Hopefully, other sports can kind of follow suit.”
They should be proud. And we should all be grateful, whatever our gender.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of FansPrint
- League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.