What the United States Women’s National Team has done in the past three weeks is nothing short of remarkable.
It’s only fitting they’d close out the 2017 Women’s World Championship against blood rival Canada by defeating them 3-2 in overtime for the US’s first gold on home soil.
In front of a standing room only crowd in Plymouth, Michigan the US got off to a somewhat sluggish start.
Just over a minute into the first period, the United States experienced only their second deficit of the tournament when Jennifer Wakefield and Meghan Agosta get in on the rush.
Wakefield sends a pass to Agosta who snipes it to give the Canadians a 1-0 lead.
The US Women’s National Team (USWNT) entered the negotiations with USA Hockey with demands that hit three broad categories: compensation, PR and marketing, and investment in the girls’ and women’s programs.
We’re thrilled to report they received what they were after in a monumental moment for women’s professional sports. The players end their boycott and will play in the Women’s World Championships starting March 31.
The initial press release said each party would keep the financial details private. Like usual, it was only a matter of time before someone had the scoop.
About 45 minutes after the statement, details of agreement between the players and USA Hockey came out. ESPN’s Johnette Howard of ESPN.com was the first to report on details which include:
Wages, marketing, and program development are all part of the National Team’s demands of USA Hockey. However, their decision to boycott and demand equitable treatment goes far beyond the tangible.
The fight is about a culture change not only in USA Hockey, but in the way women’s sports are viewed as a whole.
It’s difficult to understand a situation when you’re not directly impacted by it. Lucky for us, John Smallwood of Philly.com, has two articles giving his take on the situation with the US Women’s National Team and USA Hockey.
These woefully under-researched, alternative facts-filled columns provides unique insight into what the Women’s Team is facing from an ideological perspective.
It would be too easy to rip Mr. Smallwood a new one by dissecting each post, line by line. (And I don’t feel like having an aneurysm tonight.)
It’s also counterproductive.
The USA Hockey Board of Directors meet today to vote on terms negotiated with the US Women’s National Team (USWNT) in an effort to end the players’ boycott of the Women’s World Championships.
A group of sixteen United States Senators came together to pen a letter to USA Hockey ‘reminding’ the organization not only of their ethical obligations to the USWNT but their legal obligations under the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act.
The Senators pull zero punches.
Puck Daddy had the opportunity to interview US Women’s National Team (USWNT) captain Meghan Duggan on the team’s boycott of the upcoming World Championship.
The Q&A with Duggan goes through a majority of the topics to come to light in the past week and a half.
We’re going to do something a bit different.
There has been an amazing amount of reporting on the negotiations. At the end of most of Duggan’s answers, we’ve added links to further reading on the subject covered. It doesn’t encompass everything written but it hits on a lot.
PUCK DADDY: How are you? What’s the last week and a half been like for you?
MEGHAN DUGGAN: I’m good, I’m good. It’s certainly been busy as everyone has been seeing and following in the media. Definitely a lot going on on our end, but I’m confident. Proud of my team and everyone that’s been involved.
It’s been a united group and a really strong group from the start, and that’s the only reason why we’ve been able to, I think, take this stand. It’s because we’re all in this together and been leaning on each other throughout the entire thing and communicating very well and so, yeah, it’s good.
• U.S. women, USA Hockey talks: Where things stand. [ESPN]
• USA Hockey takes negotiations public, USWNT issues charged response. [Puck Daddy]
Negotiations between USA Hockey and the boycotting US Women’s National Team are still on going after a marathon eight-plus hour in-person session on Monday. The two sides split up to consider what had been discussed.
Training camp for the upcoming Women’s World Championships was set to start on Wednesday; however, USA Hockey was forced to cancel it and an exhibition game against Finland on Friday because they don’t have a team.
On Thursday evening, A.J. Perez of USA Today reported USA Hockey had started to contact players to fill in for the striking USWNT.
Puck Daddy reached out for comment from USA Hockey and received the following statement confirming the report:
Late Friday afternoon, USA Hockey took their negotiations with the US Women’s National Team (USWNT) public releasing a detailed statement regarding demands of the players and what the organization is willing to meet.
“We remain committed to having the players that were selected to represent the U.S. in the upcoming women’s world championship to be the players that are on the ice when the tournament begins,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey via press release.
USA Hockey stated the it would reach out to the attorneys for the USWNT to further the negotiation.
The organization’s statement comes after USA Hockey initially set a 5:00 p.m. EST deadline on Thursday for the USWNT to state their intentions to play in World Championships starting March 31 – an event they are currently boycotting – or allow for USA Hockey to ice another team. The deadline passed without incident. USA Hockey later clarified the deadline was not considered a ‘line in the sand.’
As for the statement itself, it’s lengthy. You can read the entire message here.
We’re working to breakdown and fact check the document. For now, here are the most salient points.
Over the last 36-ish hours, the he members of the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) have been subject to nothing short of a roller coaster of emotions.
On Wednesday, the team announced a boycott of the upcoming World Championships if USA Hockey didn’t meet their demands for equal pay, promotion, organizational support and more.
On Thursday, USA Hockey stated the team had a deadline of 5:00 p.m. EST to tell the organization if they truly intended not to play. Which was later walked back by USA Hockey somewhat in a conversation with Chicago Tribune reporter Chris Hersch.
After all that, a majority of the national team had to take to the ice for an NWHL winner-take-all semifinal playoff game between the Boston Pride and Connecticut Whale.
Recognizing the importance of the moment, the NWHL ditched their normal introductions for a special ceremony.
“On this episode, Jen Neale calls in to talk about Team USA’s fight for fair pay, the Leafs hitting the panic button (or not), and being a maniac on the Internet.”
The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) sent a wake-up call to the ‘old boys club’ that runs USA Hockey at a crucial point in American politics.
More now than ever the issues of women’s inequality are taking precedent in the United States.
It isn’t limited to corporate offices, schools, government, health care, etc. As the US women’s soccer team showed when they filed a wage discrimination suit against the US Soccer Federation, being the best doesn’t translate to being equal in the eyes of those that control the money.
Early Wednesday, the USWNT announced the team’s decision to boycott the Women’s World Championships starting on March 31 in Michigan unless ‘significant progress has been made on the year-long negotiations with USA Hockey over fair wages and equitable support.’
To which USA Hockey responded with the following statement:
Let’s not mince words here: USA Hockey views the men’s and women’s programs under the same lens.
To take this point of view is not only arrogant, it reveals how little respect USA Hockey has for not just the women’s national team but the little girls who aspire to follow in the footsteps of those players.