Over 200 of the world’s best female hockey players came together on Thursday releasing a joint statement across all social media announcing a boycott of playing professionally in North America next season.
During the 2017-2018 season the NWHL reportedly only paid its players between $5,000 and $7,000 for a 16-game season.
For context, the poverty level in the United States is $12,490 per year for a single person household.
What do these players want to come from all of this? Their statement read in part,
"We cannot make a sustainable living playing in the current state of the professional game. Having no health insurance and making as low as two thousand dollars a season means players can't adequately train and prepare to play at the highest level."
So how can the NWHL or any woman’s professional league become more sustainable?
For one, the fan support is there. For those of you who say that there isn't fan support for these leagues, you are wrong. The 2018-2019 season saw the NWHL set attendance records. There were 46 NWHL games this season and 16 of them sold out, a league record.
In my opinion, the NHL needs to step in and provide all the support necessary for these women to thrive professionally by actually making a living wage.
Right now the NHL is only providing $100,000 in support to the NWHL, up from the $50,000 of previous seasons.
The NHL only doubled the support because the other North American league, the CWHL, folded earlier this year.
When the NHL brass get asked about why they have never fully supported a women’s league they give bullcrap answers like this to ESPN back in March.
"As long as elite women hockey players have professional opportunities, it is not an environment we are prepared to wade into in any formal way. We have always supported professional women's hockey, and we plan to continue to do so. That doesn't mean we need to form or directly subsidize an existing professional league."
It's ridiculous that a billion dollar league where the minimum salary in 2019-2020 will be $700,000, they cannot afford a couple extra million dollars to pay these women like human beings.
I have said before that I love hockey but hate the National Hockey League. This is another reason why.
Commissioner Gary Bettman & Bill Daly NEED to be better.
National Hockey League get up off your high horse and pay these women. #ForTheGame