When it comes to international hockey in the United States, it is the women and not the men who have enjoyed the most success. Women such as Hilary Knight and Amanda Kessel have driven the bus in regards to motivating women to play hockey. That fact alone should be more than enough to have secured equal treatment to their male counterparts, but the playing field is far more lopsided than you think.
Despite the numerous successes at the Olympics, Worlds, and various other international tournaments held yearly, the discourse between pay grades is as laughable as the men’s recent go around at the World Cup Of Hockey. The best of the best receive a quarter of a hundred thousand dollars a year, and that’s just for those sitting at the top. Compare that to Patrick Kane’s 10.5 million dollar cap hit to the Blackhawks payroll and you decide what’s fair.
One of the oldest adages in the book is, you have to make money to spend money. Understandably so. Competition between the NWHL and the CWHL have caused numerous pay cuts to its players this year to stay afloat. Similarly to the WHA and the NHL in the 70’s. Symbolically, the apple that represents a love for the game grows sour if certain accommodations cannot be made.
So when the US international women’s hockey team boycotted the World Championship until their desires were met, it caused quite the ripple effect. It should be stated that this simply wasn’t a dispute over wages, rather equal benefits to their male counterparts. This included child care, maternity leave, travel accommodations and added support for the youth development program for women. Things the men have always been blessed with.
Did it help that the United States were the defending champions of the tournament? Of course. What shouldn’t be lost in translation is the good they were doing in their fight.
When the dust settled earlier this week, USA hockey offered those who possessed the courage to stand up and fight a shinny 4 year 3.7 million dollar deal.
In return, the women will report to the World’s today having hurdled yet another obstacle in the form of gender equality. I congratulate the United States women’s hockey team by simply not falling in line, but taking courageous steps towards a more unified sport.
Hockey has never been a sport in which athletes annually hold out for what they believe they deserve as far as their pay grade goes. But when it comes to things such as the CBA or Olympic participation, for the NHL, the males have routinely stood in contrast to the NHL. Behind the numerous support of the fans, who is to say this example was any different, because it wasn’t.
I whole heatedly support the women of USA hockey for standing out from the shadow cast by their male constituents. Opening the door for women in other high powered positions to use their fight as a motivator to break down the notion of a glass ceiling. In a world full of double standards and gender discrimination, these women fought for what they believed to be fair. Truly fighting the law and winning.