A little before noon today over 200 professional female hockey players announced that they will be boycotting this upcoming season until the get a “Long-Term Viable” Professional Women’s Hockey League.
In the statement above that was released by around 200 professional female hockey players it states that it is time to create a sustainable league for Women’s hockey that will give them the abilities to have health insurance, have the ability to train adequately for games, and most importantly, making a livable wage playing hockey.
A couple hours after the #ForTheGame announcement was made, NWHL put out the following statement:
In this statement from the NWHL, the biggest takeaway is that they have all intentions moving forward with the 2019-20 season, and that they will be offering increased salaries, and a 50-50 in revenue from sponsorships and media rights deals after long constructive and positive conversations with the NWHL Player’s Association over the past month.
In regards to the NWHLPA, Director Anya Battaglino had the following statement when reached for comment on the news:
“In the off season the NWHLPA has been working hard to continue to drive the betterment of our professional athletes every day. This announcement halts our ability to finally have the best players on one stage, and unfortunately sets the Women’s Hockey game backward. With the powerful opportunity we have this year to drive unprecedented growth, this new fragmentation will only slow that growth.”
While examining Mrs. Battaglino’s statement here, we have to agree with her assessment on this situation. While yesterday, May 1st, marked the official end of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) as they closed their doors, the NWHL acted swiftly and added two more teams to their league with the prospects of a third team to make it an 8 team league when the initial announcement was made in an effort to give more women an opportunity to play professionally in the NWHL.
Also, look at the growth of Women’s hockey in these last two years specifically. From the US Olympic Hockey Team winning the gold medal against Team Canada, to setting a US attendance record for a Women’s hockey game at the NWHL All Star Game in Nashville, to having Kendall Coyne Schofield becoming the first woman to participate in the NHL All Star Skills Competition. These women have made great gains only to halt it’s momentum to a near dead halt, and it’s a damn shame.
Do these women deserve to play professionally, and make a living wage doing so? Oh hell yes they do. They deserve it, and most importantly they’ve earned it, but what they are doing does not seem like the way to go about it. While we don’t have the answers here ourselves, we do believe that there has to be a better way to accomplish the ultimate goal, and that is to have the ultimate professional Women’s hockey league that brings great stability and a long term viable option for women to play the game.
We do know that one player has spoken out against the #ForTheGame movement as reported by The Ice Garden, and that is Boston Pride player Kaleigh Fratkin.
We will have more here on TXHT as everything unfolds, but to quote our Connecticut Whale writer Christopher Vasilas ( @shaggy901516 ):
“We’re definitely at the crossroads, every decision by the league and players is gonna have huge impact on future generations”