As the Sports Editor for this women’s publication it’s my responsibility to bring to light how women athletes are often misunderstood and often misrepresented. There are often situations where I have highlighted the success of women athletes on the field of play. I have also informed our readers of how women athletes have outperformed their male counterparts, but there bank accounts have fewer $ zeros. I am happy to say that the USA women’s hockey team can declare themselves the winner!
23 representatives on the US women’s national ice hockey team and USA Hockey recently continued discussions that would end the player’s holdout over better wages. The men running USA Hockey had set a deadline of 5pm EST on March 16th by which the reigning world champions and 2014 Olympic silver medalist had to declare their intentions about playing in the upcoming world championships. When the bell rang at 5pm on March 16 every player said she wouldn’t play. Dave Ogrean, USA Hockey’s executive director, threw down the threat, stating “the organization had a Plan B for the boycott”, suggesting it would find alternate players at the world championships in Plymouth, Michigan. Well, the deadline came and went. There wasn’t a replacement team. USA Hockey adjusted the raining schedule for the world championships in a manner that clearly indicates the USA Hockey expected the real team to be playing. USA Hockey blinked and the women’s team didn’t move a hair, and won!
The terms of the new deal are unknown, but it must be better than the awful $1,500 per year each player receives now. That’s correct $1,500 a year! USA Hockey brought in $41.9 million in revenue in 2014, according to its tax return. It’s not unusual to wonder how this compares with what other USA national governing bodies give their athletes. Ok if you weren’t sitting down after the $1,500, now would be a great time to pull up a chair, because in a nutshell: Not Very Well! US Figure Skating, with revenue of $17.9 million in 2014, pays its elite skaters more than $50,000 a year and that’s just the beginning. Skating shows, personal appearances and endorsement deals, often put together with the help of USFA (United States Figure Skating Association), give top US Skaters income well over $100,000 per year. Let me mention the US Biathlon 2014 revenue was $2.3 million and their President and CEO Max Cobb agreed to pay its players $30,000 per year for 3 years as part of a financial services sponsorship agreement.
The strategy paid off last month when elite athlete Susan Dunklee became the first American Woman to win a world championship medal.
The US women’s national team is one of the most successful national team over the past two decades, never having left an Olympic Games without a medal, while also winning seven of the last nine world championships. Yet the US women’s hockey national team continues to be disrespected by the men of USA Hockey. When the governing body unveiled the 2014 jersey to be worn by the men’s and women’s teams, something was missing. Included on the right sleeves of the jerseys were the years “1960” and “1980” the two times that the men’s team have won the Olympic gold medals. Absent was “1998” the year the US women won the Olympic gold medal. To this date USA Hockey continues to sell the jerseys without “1998” on the right sleeves.
Members of the US women’s national hockey team agreed to a contract with USA Hockey to avert a threatened boycott of the Women’s World Championship in Plymouth, Michigan.
The new deal included the formation of a Women’s High Performance Advisory Group that will include former and current members of the women’s nation team. The group will offer advice in helping USA Hockey advance girls and women’s hockey. The US women’s team went on to beat Canada and win another World Championship.