Madeline Hubbard ’19
Assistant Sports Editor
“If you can figure out how to get paid to do something you love, that’s the dream,” actor Jon Bernthal once said in an interview. The women on the U.S. Hockey team have found something they love and are now trying to get paid for it. In 2016, the National Women’s Hockey League cut the players’ wages by 38 percent, according to Sports Illustrated. These women had already signed contracts of a maximum of $26,000, which adds up to a part-time job salary. This meant that some players could not continue to play in the league, with salaries adding up to just $700 a month. The players responded by asking the league for proof that they will be able to pay the athletes in the future, where the funding from the sponsors went and how they were promoting ticket sales. When a reporter asked Hillary Knight if she thought she was worth what she was getting paid, around $22,000 a season, she responded by saying, “Absolutely not. I am worth way more than that.”
Recently in the news, the players threatened to boycott the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship unless the wage dispute with USA Hockey was settled. The women asked for $68,000 pay, maternity leave and other benefits like insurance and travel expense compensation. An article from CNN states, “The women’s team is also asking for the same treatment as the men’s team when it comes to publicity, travel and support for female youth leagues.” These women make a fraction of what their male counterparts make in the NHL and they want to be able to make a living playing hockey without having two other jobs and requiring support from their families.
In response to these demands, the league made an offer that the team named misleading, as it included pay from a small six month period during the Olympics every four years. The league threatened to replace the players for the tournament if they refused to play. The players asked to fill in by the NWHL stood by the team and refused to fill in at the tournament leaving the league unable to hold up their threat. As a result, the team got the league to agree to a four- year contract of around $70,000 in a year and $100,000 for every Olympic year according to an article from CNN money. This raise is an incredible step up from the pay the women were earning before. USA Hockey also vowed to funnel more energy and time into women’s development programs and growing the game. Last Friday, the 23 women showed up to the tournament and won the game 2-0 against Canada. An even bigger win was made when these contacts were signed. This gives hope to female athletes everywhere and brings us one step closer in the battle for equal pay.