“Players on the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team announced today that they will not participate in the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship games,” a statement on behalf of the team read.
The team’s demands were clear: They wanted equal pay for equal play. They required the same salary and benefits as their male contemporaries.
During the off-years of the Olympics the women received little pay. When traveling, they were required to share hotel rooms while the men received private accommodation. While the guys flew first class, the women flew coach. During the six-month period before the Olympics the female players received $6,000. Which was, the of course, much less than the men.
After more than a year of stalled negotiations and attempts by their governing body — a.k.a. the USA Hockey organization — to nullify conflict, the players staged a boycott.
And amazingly, it worked.
On Thursday, after 14 months of attempts then nearly two weeks of boycotting the women were granted what they’d asked for, according to CNN. This week they’ll take on Canada in Plymouth Michigan for their first match.
As noted by CNN, the team received a swell of outside support as well. In an interview with ESPN, USA Hockey Olympian Mike Eruzione said "I think things like this are why you get Billie Jean King, Julie Foudy and so many other women who fought for years for women to get things like equal treatment, equal pay,” said the former player. “You hate to see this have to happen."
Though, possibly the biggest, most heartwarming part of the entire ordeal was the solidarity show across the board. HelloGiggles noted that USA Hockey attempted to replace the team with players from intramural leagues and college teams. However, the players refused. And instead of doing this silently they took to Twitter and other platforms to let their stance be known using the hashtag, #BeBoldForChange.