USA Hockey has been treating their Women’s team with very little respect. Now, with a boycott on the line, the Women’s team has made their grievances known. And you know what…they’ve hit it on the nose.
For the purpose of this article, there are two complaints being voiced from the Women’s hockey team. They are both valid, one more than the other, but nonetheless valid. Let’s look at them.
Women’s Olympic hockey hasn’t been around forever. The first time it took place was 1998 in Nagano, Japan. That was the first time the ladies got their chance. Now it’s a foregone conclusion that Canada is better than ‘the States’ at hockey and always will be, but that is a distinction that is so much more discernible on the Men’s side than the Women’s. USA Women’s hockey are fuckin’ good.
In the 5 Olympic games that they have attended, they have won…5 medals. Yeah, in every Olympics the Women have attended, they have been top 3. Really, top 2. With only 1 bronze medal, it has been them and Canada every 4 years. In 1998, at the first Women’s Olympic hockey tournament, they WON THE WHOLE DAMN THING. Gold Medal.
Now I wonder how the much-loved Men’s team has done…
You can count their 5 most recent medals too, but you have to go back to 19-fucking-60 to count them all. USA Men’s hockey is bad. They’ve been bad for a long time and a lot of that has to do with the idiotic management and team building group. Holy shit.
So, basically this is important because the Men’s team has been made to be the face of USA hockey. Somehow, with a suck-ass legacy and not winning anything meaningful since the 1980 ‘Miracle’ they are the heroes of USA hockey. That ain’t right.
When it came time to announce the new Team USA jerseys, not only did they ‘forget’ to appropriately display the Women’s team accomplishments, but they didn’t even invite the women to stand alongside the men for the unveiling. Yahoo Puck Daddy Blog’s Greg Wyshinski called this “…literally the definition of equal footing”. He’s right. How can you even fake support a team, especially one where there is a sensitive gender difference and not even make them a part of Team USA public announcements. Relegate them to $400 per month salaries….that’ll work. Oh, we aren’t there yet….
So you would think that just treating the Women like an honored national institution and not an after-thought is something easy that USA Hockey can fix. You’d be right. And that’s what brings us to the second point. …Now we’re there
Now this is another point I side with the players on. Being a national athlete should pay your bills, cover your insurance and provide you with everything you need to devote yourself fully to your career in the sport. Especially if your nation prides itself on their Olympic success.
USA Hockey’s argument would be that nobody attends Women’s hockey game. And that’s true to a point, however, the wealthiest nation in the world should be able to pony up enough money to keep their athletes’ lights on.
Money ruins everything. It’s why Women’s hockey, and junior hockey (to a point) are so exciting. You are watching elite athletes compete, because competition is what they do. I maintain that as soon as you inject a $5 million dollar contract, it fucks everything up. It changes what the players play for and it changes how they play for it.
That said, pay the fucking players USA Hockey and quit being a bunch of cranky old fucks.