After 15 months of negotiations and a two-week boycott, the U.S. women’s hockey team earned a major victory for gender equality last week, reaching a deal with USA Hockey that will give women a living range, benefits equal to their male counterparts and funding for youth-development programs for girls.
The U.S. women – three-time defending world champions – threatened to sit out of the 2017 Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship if change did not occur.
“That shows how significantly change needed to happen,” U.S. women’s hockey player Gigi Marvin said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Players who have given their entire career to this sport – and the biggest thing for us is the world championship – to see us willing to sacrifice that for the betterment of this sport, that shows how significant it was and how important it was to see change happen. That’s the reason we all stuck together, and that’s the reason we pushed for it and worked so hard for an agreement and came to an agreement with USA Hockey. It’s awesome. It’s something we believed in. Knowing how much we play and sacrifice – we only have nine games a year, and we were willing to give up five because of it. It’s something that I think shows how important and how necessary the change needed to happen. We were extremely thankful that both sides worked so hard. it’s really cool to see that agreement come last week.”
The U.S. men’s team supported the women in their fight for equality, which meant a lot to Marvin and her teammates.
“It’s simple things that the programs receive as far as transportation, as far as meals, as far as staffing,” Marvin said of the agreement. “We weren’t asking for millions of dollars; we were really asking for the same equitable resources that were provided to the men. That was a huge part of the agreement for us. A lot of those things that have already (been) given on the men’s side needed to also be equitably given for the women’s side.”
The women, to their credit, have backed up their boycott with stellar play. They are 3-0 in the WWC and have outscored the opposition 14-3 with a pair of shutouts. They play Germany in the WWC semifinals April 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET.