U.S. Women’s Hockey Starters Boycott World Championship; Citing Gender Discrimination

Meghan Duggan

On Friday, US women’s hockey team captain Meghan Duggan spoke to Kelly McEvers on NPR’s All Things Considered regarding the boycott of next week’s women’s hockey world championship. The boycott proposal was brought by Duggan and the starting players of the US women’s hockey team. Duggan and her team mates have accused USA Hockey — the governing body of both the men’s and women’s national teams — of unfair treatment in comparison to their male counterparts. As a result, they have refused to participate in the upcoming world championship game until certain conditions have been satisfied.

When asked what terms the women’s team has laid out, Duggan explained that the issue was a general lack of support and recognition, particularly in the form of “compensation … but also from a marketing and PR standpoint.” She went on to say that, during the four-year Olympic cycle, USA Hockey pays the women’s team members a living wage of $1,000 a month each for a period of six months. After that — the rest of the three and a half years — Duggan says her and her teammates make “virtually nothing.”

Duggan and her teammates have refused to play in the 2017 championship.

In a sport in which players have a relatively short shelf life, the 29 year old team captain expressed that she feels her age has given a greater sense of urgency to resolving their differences with USA Hockey. After 10 years on the team and seven world championships, she elaborated, her and her teammates want nothing more than to attend their eighth championship this year. However, the need for gender rights weighs heavier than the championship to which these women have devoted the past year.

As negotiations are ongoing, USA Hockey is already looking for substitute players to replace Duggan and her teammates in the case that an agreement can’t be reached by next week. As of now, there remains a very real chance of a massive shakeup of the US women’s hockey team just prior to a world championship — and with only a week to go, the chances of that are increasing every day.