More than 200 of the world’s top women’s hockey players have released a joint statement today, announcing that they will not play in any professional league this season unless changes are made to compensation, insurance plans and resource availability. Hilary Knight, Marie-Philip Poulin, Kendall Coyne Schofield, and Brianne Jenner are all among the group that is looking for a way to create a sustainable professional model for women’s hockey. The statement in full:
We are fortunate to be the ambassadors of this game that we revere so deeply and yet, more than ever, we understand the responsibility that comes with that ambassadorship: To leave this game in better shape than when we entered it. That is why we come together, over 200 players strong, to say it is time to create a sustainable professional league for Women’s Hockey.
While we have all accomplished so much, there is no greater accomplishment than what we have the potential to do right here and right now – not just for this generation of players, but for generations to come. With that purpose, we are coming together, not as individual players, but as one collective voice to help navigate the future and protect the players’ needs. 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.
Because of that, together as players, we will not play in ANY professional leagues in North America this season until we get the resources that professional hockey demands and deserves.
We may have represented different teams, leagues, and countries – but this sport is one family. And the time is now for this family to unite. This is the moment we’ve been waiting for – our moment to come together and say we deserve more. It’s time for a long-term viable professional league that will showcase the greatest product of women’s professional hockey in the world.” #ForTheGame
This comes after the surprising announcement earlier this year that the CWHL would be shutting down after financial issues. The NWHL, the other professional women’s league in North America, received an increased investment from the NHL, but is still not directly affiliated with the league. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has been clear in the past that the league may step in if there were no other options for women’s hockey.
A move like this boycott is a surprising one, but obviously necessary according to this group of players.