Women in sports have long struggled for not only acceptance as equal competitors and athletes but have always been grossly underpaid. Like their predecessor in the fight for equality, Billie Jean King, the USA Women’s Hockey team took up the fight for equal pay for equal work. Even with the threat of the League replacing them with other players, they stayed firm in their resolve to boycott the games. They not only won equal pay but returned to the ice and became the world champions.
After almost boycotting the tournament the USA Women’s Hockey team takes home the gold medal with an overtime win over Canada in the IIHF Women’s World Championship.
PLYMOUTH, Mich. — U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team coach Robb Stauber likes to tell his players “we don’t care who scores, but trust me, we remember who blocks shots.”
Stauber, a former NHL goalie, is not likely to ever forget that it was a blocked shot by Hilary Knight that led to her scoring the game-winning overtime goal in Team USA’s 3-2 win against Canada at the IIHF World Championships.
“I don’t know what a fan paid for a ticket tonight, but they should have doubled it because it was a good hockey game,” Stauber said.
After the first period, former Canadian women’s hockey star Cassie Campbell tweeted that it was the fastest women’s game she had ever seen played.
It was a memorable game because it gave Team USA its seventh gold medal in the past eight World Championships, and three in a row since Team USA lost to Canada at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
It was an emotional game for the American women because they had been riding a roller coaster since March 15, when they threatened to boycott the World Championships if they didn’t receive a new contract from USA Hockey that would give them the financial support they needed to stay active in the sport in non-Olympic years.
The American women didn’t even know they would be playing in the World Championships until USA Hockey officials agreed to a new deal three days before the start of the tournament.
The new financial package — paying players around $70,000 in non-Olympic years and potentially more than $100,000 in an Olympic year — was a major “win” that could change American women’s hockey for years to come, but players understood the story needed a happy ending to make it more meaningful.
Stauber thought Knight’s blocked shot was symbolic of the price the American women were willing to pay for the success. That was true on and off the ice.
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Kevin Allen , USA TODAY Sports Published 1:01 a.m. ET April 8, 2017