More to Do in Women’s Hockey Equality Campaign
October 30, 2017

The 15-month negotiations between USA Hockey and the United States Women’s Hockey team, for better pay and support, ended on 29 March 2017. They culminated in a 2-week boycott and ultimately an agreement was reached. But there is a clear understanding that the work is incomplete.

While the victory is fantastic and has been watched and enthused over by women athletes around the world, the fact that these issues are still unresolved in 2017, and are only addressed following a complete boycott, shows how wide the chasm between the recognition of male athletes and female athletes still is, in Ice Hockey and in everything else.

Enter the Women’s High Performance Advisory Group

The new Advisory Group is one of the most exciting aspects of the new deal that has been struck with USA Hockey. The Group will work within the governing body, and continue to create more conditions of equality for women Hockey players.

The agreement that was eventually released is a 4-year contract and is similar to what the Canadian Women’s Hockey team achieved nearly 20 years ago. A Women’s High Performance Advisory Committee was essential to the neighbours to the north of the USA, and should serve similarly in America.

The female hockey players are probably as thrilled with the commitment to progress as they are to their current salary and support increases, and at least as excited as someone lucky enough to be playing in a CAD casino. In a statement, USA Hockey said the Group would consist of current and former players on the national team, as well as staff leaders and volunteers with vested interests in US Women’s Hockey.

Mindsets and Mentalities Need to be Changed

The Women’s High Performance Advisory Group is to meet regularly to assist in efforts to further girls and women’s hockey. All areas will be addressed, including promotion, fundraising, marketing and programming. Now that the means to effect change are in place, the work to do just that can begin.

As American Hockey star Hilary Knight said, mentalities need to be changed because people have not yet changed enough. It is, unfortunately, a common enough refrain among those working for gender equality in all areas. The Group hopes to have impact not only at home, but also on the wider Ice Hockey community.

Cammi Granato, who was on the American team that won a gold medal in the first-ever Women’s Hockey Olympic tournament back in 1998, said the recent changes should force the International Ice Hockey Federation to examine and update the current standards. Many other insiders feel the same, and hope that this is what happens as mindsets within US Women’s Hockey are changed.

The Road Remains Long

When you consider that the US victory for Women’s Hockey comes nearly 2 decades after the triumph in Canada, it seems clear that while equality is advancing, it is doing so at a slow pace. The changes in the International Ice Hockey Federation and the influence this would have on the governing body of every nation may still be a long time coming. In all sports, men are still the highest paid, and the most popular, but this may change in years to come. Luckily, together, women hockey players and other athletes are tenacious and committed enough to last the full marathon.


This page is maintained by © 2017 Andria Hunter (

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