Chalk one up for social justice. USA women’s hockey just made history and it wasn’t with their stellar play on the ice. This was about the players striking for equal rights, pay and treatment. The women of this team bound together and helped move their sport into a better future. Let’s take a moment to recognize them and see exactly what happened.
The women’s hockey program in our country has been fantastic of late, winning gold seven of the last nine years. The American women skate to win. That’s what made their strike so impactful. A program at the top of its game decided to use their platform to aid the next generation instead of just adding to the country’s trophy case.
The team went on strike prior to the World Championships (where they are current champs) and held fast into the closing hours before the puck was meant to drop. The women of that team were fighting for many things but it all stemmed from these two basic concepts: the women of team USA hockey wanted to be treated like their male counterparts and be paid like full time athletes. Basic equal rights. I’m happy to report they settled on a new deal with USA Hockey that included many of their requests. There were compromises on both sides but the players won this deal.
Here is what they won:
The pay has been bumped up from a part time salary to $70,000 a year plus bonuses for winning major tournaments. This a huge point. Athletes spend all year training for these events. We need to pay them for all their time invested not just the weeks they skate for the championships. Insurance, travel and per diem levels are now equal with the men of USA Hockey. Another no-brainer. Treat all your athletes the same. Also, a new committee was formed to help promote the women’s game and develop youth hockey for girls. As well as a $950,000 fund to help with back-pay.
That is awesome news to report. It’s great to see all the different people come out and support the team. We need this enthusiasm to continue. Stand up and help each other out. It may be tough but we have excellent role models to show us the way.