Good morning! Over a week has passed since I wrote about the National Women's Hockey Team and its boycott of the upcoming World Championships. I'm now happy to report that the women will play. Yay!
Although USA Hockey attempted to buy itself time (or avoid the issue altogether) by trying to enlist replacement players for the tournament, almost every player it contacted stood up in support of the National Team by publicizing her refusal to take USA Hockey up on its offer of a roster spot for Worlds. (See #BeBoldForChange.) And USA Hockey showed its desperation by contacting not only professional and college players, but also rec league and high school players. Reportedly, barely a handful showed any interest. As club college player Lauren Allen said to the New York Times, "We weren't going to go behind the backs of our sisters, because we believe we need equality...It's a movement, women's hockey history, and of course I support them."
In addition, there were indications that the Men's National Team might boycott its World Championship tournament (scheduled for May) in support of the women, and there were clear messages of support from the player's associations of the MLB, the NBA, the NHL, and the NFL; from individual athletes and coaches around the world; and from twenty U.S. Senators who called on USA Hockey to obey the Ted Stevens Act, which requires that it provide girls and women with support and opportunities equal to those provided to male players.
So, kicking and screaming, USA Hockey has been dragged into the 21st century. Here's the gist of the agreement, via a tweet from devoted women's hockey reporter Hannah Bevis:
With that settled, we can look forward to Friday and the start of the tournament. Unfortunately, the games are generally not covered by major networks (the NHL channel may broadcast some of them): that's a fight for another day. But, to keep ourselves abreast of the action, we are fortunate to have two relatively new websites devoted to coverage of women's hockey, whether it be NCAA, professional, or national. They are The Victory Press and The Ice Garden. Please support them!
Incidentally, if you need another reason to be outraged by the way USA Hockey has tried to belittle our sisters' successes, read this.