How The U.S. Women’s Hockey Team Is Defending The Goal For Fair Wages And Equality

"Stop treating us like an afterthought."

The goal of the U.S. women's hockey team is to be treated fairly in the male-dominated sport.

On Wednesday, the team announced that if they don't see "significant progress" from the year-long talks with the national federation over wages and other support, they will not report to training camp next week and will boycott the tournament starting March 31 ahead of next February's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

"We're asking for a living wage and for USA Hockey to fully support its programs for women and girls and stop treating us like an afterthought," said team captain Meghan Duggan told Yahoo Sports. "We have represented our country with dignity and deserve to be treated with fairness and respect."



To say that these women have earned the right to fair wages and support from USA Hockey would be an understatement. They're champions, after all, winning three consecutive world titles and six out of the last seven overall.

Still, the players reportedly receive just $1,000 monthly for six months during their Olympic residency. Outside of that $6,000 they make, they are still required to adhere to a full-time training schedule and competitions. Players reported needing to work two or three jobs outside of playing hockey just to support themselves and their families, who often offer additional financial support.

"The goals of our requests are to receive fair treatment from USA Hockey," the team said in a statement Wednesday. "In making these requests, we are simply asking USA Hockey to comply with the law."

It's difficult to make a comparison to what the U.S. men's hockey players make during the Olympics since the team is made up of NHL professional players, who make millions each season.

"You can't really say, 'Well what do they get?' Because the NHL guys get paid millions of dollars," forward Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson said in another interview. "That's why we bring up equitable support. How they get treated when they go to their world championship or their World Cup, it should be equal to that about how we get treated when we go to our world championship."

USA Hockey stated that each player will receive $85,000 including medical incentives for participating in the Olympics next February, but Duggan said that was "completely misleading and dishonest."

"It's an example of them kind of disregarding anything that we're asking and basically disregarding our request to be under contract for a four-year period and any of that," she continued, adding how they've also asked for equal insurance coverage and travel expenses.

Other requests include equal support for programs offered to girls through the National Team Development Program, such as the $3.5 million USA Hockey reportedly spends on programs for boys.

USA Hockey's response to the threatened boycott is to "field a competitive team" for the tournament with President Jim Smith adding, "USA Hockey's role is not to employ athletes and we will not do so."

Forward Hilary Knight's response was clear, "Good luck getting a suitable No. 1 competition to represent our country on a world stage. I kind of dare them."

The U.S. women's hockey team appears to have been inspired by the U.S. women's soccer team, who also threatened a boycott of last year's Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. A judge later ruled against the team, saying the boycott was prohibited within the guidelines of their contracts with US Soccer. But the judge added that the ruling "does not detract from or undermine their resolve to continue their fight for equal pay for equal work. That struggle will continue until the objective is achieved."

The U.S. women's hockey team intends to stay in the fight for equality with forward Lamoureux-Davidson saying, "I'm proud to do this with my teammates and to stand arm in arm with them and to say enough is enough."



(H/T: ABC News | Yahoo)

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