Yahoo- The U.S. women’s national hockey team, which is constantly sparring with Canada for the title of world’s best, will sit out this year’s IIHF World Championship in Plymouth, Michigan, on March 31. The team announced the decision Wednesday, citing stalled negotiations over fair wages.
The team is seeking a contract with USA Hockey that includes fair pay, as well as support for “youth team development, equipment, travel expenses, hotel accommodations, meals, staffing, transportation, marketing, and publicity.”
According to ESPN, USA Hockey has traditionally paid women $1,000 a month during the six-month Olympic residency period, and “virtually nothing” during the rest of the four-year period — even though players are expected to play and compete full-time.
That means women on the team have to choose between playing for the team and earning a living wage. “Sadly it becomes a decision between chasing your dream or giving in to the reality of the financial burden,” player Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson said. “That is the conversation my husband and I are having right now.”
You don't have to like this decision (though I don't know why you wouldn't), but you damn sure have to respect it. Obviously the more important storyline is that the proud members of the United States women's hockey team are putting themselves at risk of getting an answer they don't like and having to decide between competing for a pocket change paycheck or missing out on an opportunity to represent their country. I think most hockey players would tell you that nothing sucks more than turning down a chance to play hockey, and these women are potentially doing just that on the most local, inviting, and prestigious of stages. I don't throw the term "courageous" around too often, but standing up for a great cause - possibly at the expense of their passion - is definitely a gutsy move.
All that being said, I'm much more interested in the fact that they are using their leverage to their advantage during one of the few instances in which they have it. Let's just face the facts here, womens' sports and hockey isn't the most profitable of combinations so there isn't exactly a perfect time to demand a well deserved raise. The best possible one, however, would be mere weeks before an international competition that is taking place on their home soil.
I have to imagine that Hilary Knight and Co. were anxiously awaiting the day in which they could put USA Hockey between a rock and hard place, and those frugal fucks probably feel like they just got stoned on the doorstep. Either they get strong armed into devoting more money into a program of lesser popularity (but far more success), or completely embarrass themselves by lacking representation on home ice in one of the few cities that would embrace it.
I'm not saying that this boycott wasn't inevitable with the one of the most decorated womens' teams in the entire world making less money than the people flipping their burgers, but you can bet your ass that it's being taken more seriously because the upcoming tournament is in Michigan and not Tokyo. They participate in what some may consider "a man's sport", but that doesn't mean these women don't possess lady-like qualities like the ability to recognize when they have the upper hand and exploiting the ever-lovin' shit out of it. I'm usually against men getting used for meals, but I appreciate these Patriotic women channeling the American way and exhausting the little leverage at their disposal in an effort to let the big girls eat.