A lot of you probably don’t know about the United States women’s national ice hockey team. That’s alright, that’s your issue. A lot of you will use this ignorance to claim that, vis-a-vis, they shouldn’t be properly compensated for their work. That’s not alright. These women are entitled, by law, to equitable support from USA Hockey in compensation, equipment, meals, staffing, transportation, hotels, travel and marketing.
The fight for higher pay has led to a boycott of the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Michigan, a championship they won in 2016 over Canada.
— Hilary Knight (@Hilary_Knight) March 16, 2017
They’re not asking for a lot. The reigning world champions were previously paid $1,000 a month for six months every Olympic cycle. For the other three and a half years, they make due with next to nothing. Essentially, they’re being paid about $1,500 a year.
— Ian Smetson (@iansmetson43) December 18, 2016
These are Olympians that won the silver medal at the 2014 Olympic Games, losing to Canada in overtime in front of over 10,000 spectators. Professionally, it’s not any easier for them. There are two professional leagues: The Canadian Women’s Hockey League and the National Women’s Hockey League.
The C.W.H.L doesn’t offer salaries and consists of five teams, but it’s fostering relationships with NHL sides and sponsors. The N.W.H.L was the first women’s professional league to offer salaries, ranging from $10,000 to $26,000. With the league struggling, those salaries were cut by 38 percent in November.
They essentially play year-round fueled simply with the love of the game. No team demonstrates this more than the Minnesota Whitecaps. The Whitecaps originally provided five players for the World Championship roster. The team is unique in that it’s totally independent.
They barnstorm against college teams, seeking out ice time in exchange for clinics for youth players and donating 100 percent of ticket sales to whatever hockey association will host them.
They’ve been watching the United States women’s soccer team’s fight for pay equality with vetted interest. On Wednesday, Alex Morgan offered her support to the USA women’s hockey team.
— Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) March 15, 2017
USA Hockey’s executive director Dave Ogrean has moved to bring in a team of replacement players. It would be a disastrous decision on so many levels, and one of the worst moments in USA Hockey's history.