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US Women’s National Team vs. USA Hockey Update

#BeBoldForChange was the hashtag of choice for those involved and supporting the USA National Women’s Hockey Team in their quest for change with USA Hockey. Last night, it was confirmed that being bold for a long overdue change can, in fact, make a difference. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out my last article outlining the boycott. Thirteen days after the USWNT decided to boycott the 2017 World Championships in Michigan, a deal was reached and it is confirmed that we will see the reigning World Champions back in action.

What’s Happened Between Now and Then?

Since the boycott was announced, we’ve seen the world react in ways I’m sure even the USWNT couldn’t have imagined. While they stood together for a change for their sport, much of the world came together to stand with them, and all women. On the other side of the spectrum, there were some pieces information about USA Hockey revealed that, combined with their reaction of attempting to find a filler team rather than successfully negotiate with the women, is shaping up to be a near irreparable hit to the organization. Here’s a taste of what happened: 

  • USA Hockey kept to their initial word of trying to find a replacement team for the Worlds, and were turned down by almost every player they reached out to, including high school players. This makes me wonder if the negotiations would have happened the way they did had USA Hockey not been turned down by almost every female hockey player in the United States. They seemed to follow through on negotiations because they were denied by every other player, not because they felt it was the right thing to do. Kudos to all of the USA female hockey player for foregoing the opportunity of playing in the World Championships to stand with the USWNT!
  • It was reported that USA Hockey brought in $41.9 million in 2014, yet the USWNT players only saw $1500 per year of that and were also witness to severely underdeveloped programs for females. Heck, they couldn’t even use any of that revenue to sew “1998” (the year the women won Olympic gold) on the sleeve of the Team USA’s jerseys. Instead, the women have to don the same jerseys as the men, with only “1960” and “1980” sewn into the sleeve to represent the men’s two Olympic gold medal wins.
  • It was also unveiled that USA Hockey turned down an opportunity to participate in a rematch against Team Canada after the 2014 Sochi Olympics. A game that would’ve been played at the Air Canada Centre, had a large sum of prize money attached to it, and could’ve brought even more attention to the women’s game after an exposing matchup at the Olympics.

  • The USA Men’s World Championships Team (scheduled to begin their tournament in May) spoke out saying they would also boycott in solidarity with the women. 
  • Multiple US Senators wrote a letter to the USA Hockey’s Executive Director urging him to resolve the issue.

You could say USA Hockey has found themselves in a bit of PR nightmare since the boycott was announced.

What’s the Deal?

While both parties chose to leave specific financial details out of the media, USA Hockey has agreed to the following terms, according to ESPN:

• USA Hockey will allocate $950,000 by the final year of the backloaded agreement to a compensation pool for the players.

Previously, USA Hockey paid each member of the women’s national team only $6,000 for the six-month training residency before each Olympic Games. The other three-and-a-half years, the players’ only financial support came in training stipends that the USOC provides athletes.

• Until now, those USOC training stipends ranged from $750 for newer members of the women’s national hockey team to a cap of $2,000 a month. Going forward, every national team player will get the maximum $2,000 monthly stipend, regardless of her experience level, with USA Hockey making up whatever monthly difference the USOC doesn’t pay.

• For the first time, USA Hockey will pay the women’s team performance bonuses ($20,000 for a gold medal, $15,000 for silver) to supplement the five-figure performance bonuses the USOC pays athletes in all sports.

• For the first time, the women’s team will receive the same level of travel arrangements and insurance coverage as the men’s team. The women’s per diem was bumped up from $15 a day for non-travel days at events to $50, the same as the men’s.

• USA Hockey and the players will establish a committee to make recommendations on how the federation can improve its marketing, scheduling, public relations efforts and promotion of the women’s game.

• USA Hockey will add a foundation position to improve fundraising and other efforts for its girls’ developmental teams, which currently receive virtually nothing compared to the $3.5 million the boys’ program receives and the additional $1.4 million USA Hockey pours into the USHL, a top-tier league for 16- to 20-year-old boys.

Even without knowing exactly what the women’s team was asking for in terms of money, it’s still safe to say that this new deal is a solid step forward in helping these women survive while competing for their country. One of the areas of the deal I’m most interested to see the impact of is the increased fundraising and efforts for marketing and development programs for young girls. It will be specifically interesting to see the progression of the women’s game (including an increase in profit) in the future as a response to these changes.

What Now?

Now, we watch the reigning World Champions play their hearts out on home soil knowing that they are the reason that an entire nation, and world, is more informed about their sport and ultimately, the reason that little girls and women around the world can watch them and dream even bigger than before.

If you’re not from the USA, you may not be cheering for Team USA on the ice, but you’ll sure as hell be commending them for their incredible work off the ice. Let these women be proof that we don’t have to accept things the way they are; if you want to see change, be that change.

If you want to check out the action that kicks off on Friday, here’s the full schedule for you:

Nr Group Date Time Phase Venue Game
1 B 31 Mar, Fri 12:00 GMT-4 PRE USA Hockey Arena 1 CZE vs SUI
2 B 31 Mar, Fri 15:35 GMT-4 PRE USA Hockey Arena 1 SWE vs GER
3 A 31 Mar, Fri 16:00 GMT-4 PRE USA Hockey Arena 2 FIN vs RUS
4 A 31 Mar, Fri 19:35 GMT-4 PRE USA Hockey Arena 1 USA vs CAN
5 B 1 Apr, Sat 12:00 GMT-4 PRE USA Hockey Arena 1 CZE vs GER
6 A 1 Apr, Sat 15:35 GMT-4 PRE USA Hockey Arena 1 RUS vs USA
7 B 1 Apr, Sat 18:00 GMT-4 PRE USA Hockey Arena 2 SUI vs SWE
8 A 1 Apr, Sat 19:35 GMT-4 PRE USA Hockey Arena 1 CAN vs FIN
9 B 3 Apr, Mon 12:00 GMT-4 PRE USA Hockey Arena 1 GER vs SUI
10 A 3 Apr, Mon 15:35 GMT-4 PRE USA Hockey Arena 1 CAN vs RUS
11 B 3 Apr, Mon 18:00 GMT-4 PRE USA Hockey Arena 2 SWE vs CZE
12 A 3 Apr, Mon 19:35 GMT-4 PRE USA Hockey Arena 1 USA vs FIN
13 4 Apr, Tue 12:00 GMT-4 REL USA Hockey Arena 1  vs 
14 4 Apr, Tue 15:35 GMT-4 QF USA Hockey Arena 1  vs 
15 4 Apr, Tue 19:35 GMT-4 QF USA Hockey Arena 1  vs 
16 6 Apr, Thu 12:00 GMT-4 REL USA Hockey Arena 1  vs 
17 6 Apr, Thu 15:35 GMT-4 SF USA Hockey Arena 1  vs 
18 6 Apr, Thu 17:00 GMT-4 P5-6 USA Hockey Arena 2  vs 
19 6 Apr, Thu 19:35 GMT-4 SF USA Hockey Arena 1  vs 
20 7 Apr, Fri 12:00 GMT-4 REL USA Hockey Arena 1  vs 
21 7 Apr, Fri 15:35 GMT-4 BMG USA Hockey Arena 1  vs 
22 7 Apr, Fri 19:35 GMT-4 GMG USA Hockey Arena 1  vs 

 

  • toprightcorner

    USA Hockey should be embarrassed about how they treated women’s hockey. Having to wear men’s jerseys that did not have their Olympic Gold medal recognized on it is just bush league. Paying the players an average of $1500 a year ($6000 for Olympic years only) is basically slave labour. Instead of immediately trying to rectify their lack of support, they contacted every female hockey player to replace them at the same crappy working conditions.

    Some USA Hockey heads should be fired and replaced with people who realize this isn’t the 1920’s

  • Not a First Tier Fan

    Canadian women kick ass – but this story shows that American women kick ass too. Going to have to amend the saying to North American women kick ass, I guess…

    Amazing that every replacement player that USAHockey reached out to said no. Good on them. And the Execs of USAHockey should be utterly ashamed they put any American girl in that position. What a load of wankers….

  • Druds

    I guess we can all be politically correctly happy for the US women who are slightly less obnoxious than the US soccer Team. I guess the real problem is this constant attempt to pretend that women’s hockey is relevant. It is not, I know I will be trashed but its true. I don’t watch beer league games either and marveling at Olympic woman’s hockey is somewhat akin to going to my local arena on any friday night and watching 30 year olds play rec league. I mean great for them but also big deal….Trash away !!!

    • Fuzzy

      I’m not sure what you personally watch is relevant (less politely, no one cares what you watch).Elite level women’s hockey, World Champioships and the olympics etc. give little girls players to look up to, which is good for the game. Good for the women of USWNT and female players asked to play to stand up to USA Hockey for what is right.

      • Druds

        whatever…I support women in lots of stuff but do I care what another country does or does not for its Athletes? No
        I now see posts that state that they are “Heroes” …Oh the poor abused word the Americans love to use for everyone. I do find USWNT to be irrelevant if you do not then so be it. and if you don’t care what I watch then say so but don’t use the weaselly ” no one cares” because you have no idea if anyone else cares or not.

    • Not a First Tier Fan

      The brutal thing is that you don’t now just how wrong you are. Some of the most spirited and intense games I can remember have been in women’s hockey. For a while there (and still a little today) the rivalry between the Canadian and US women’s team was scorching hot. Ill never forget Hailey Wickenheiser at the Olympics, after the Canadian girls toughed out the most brutally biased officiating Ever and won gold, yelling at the interviewer that the American team had spent the season walking on the Canadian flag in their dressing room – and now she wondered if they would bring it out so they could sign it. Sure the Olympics is a special kind of intense but that sort of passion has run through the Womens games for the last twenty years. If the Oilers could bottle even just a fraction of the passion the Canadian and American girls play with then they would be unstoppable.

      I imagine you think you’re cool by broadly and generically downplaying women’s hockey. But really it’s just sad. And you’re missing out some really good tilts just because you’re all too happy to be ignorant.

    • A-Mc

      Whatever your personal opinions are about women’s hockey, really isn’t relevant. Viewers tune in to watch the women’s hockey teams. 4.9 Million people tuned in to watch USA/CAN women’s olympic gold medal game in 2014, in sochi. The USA/RUS Men’s game (highly anticipated for obvious historical reasons) had 4.1 Million, for comparison.

      When 4.9 Million people are tuning in to watch a women’s hockey event, the players deserve to get their cut of the deal.

      • Druds

        LOL the reason USA/Russia mens got only 4.1 million viewers is that Americans don’t watch hockey! The reason Can/USA womens hockey got 4.9 million is that Canadians do watch Hockey especially when we can destroy a US hockey team . I must also state that I have daughters and if I had wanted them to have good woman role models to follow it certainly would not be a USWNT player or god forbid their Soccer counterparts who seem to think that being foul mouthed and obnoxious brings them good media attention and promoted great values.

    • winteriscoming

      If you can move out of the dark ages it would be appreciated. If you have a daughter go tell her that she will never paid anything close to what a man will and never go to any of her sports games as she will never be as good as a male. Jerk

  • A-Mc

    I wonder how the Canadian Women’s team arrangements/compensation stack up to the mens? Do we have this same problem in Canada? or was this primarily a USA Hockey blunder

  • Hrkac Circus

    We could debate the skill level and quality of Women’s hockey all day, but that’s not really the point. Enough people are interested in it to make USA hockey considerable TV and gate revenue and the players should be fairly compensated for generating that revenue. It’s not that hard.

    Good for the players for standing up for themselves and effectively negotiating a fair deal.