Women’s hockey players from the United States and Canada are known for their heated rivalry on the ice, but today they came together to make a statement. They will not play in any existing North American league in the 2019-20 season until they accept the conditions.
The boycott includes national team players from both the United States and Canada, and other countries, members of the CWHLPA as well as players still in University. It also includes players who played in the NWHL last season.
Players released a statement on their social media accounts on Thursday.
We may represent different teams, leagues and countries but collectively we stand as one. #ForTheGame pic.twitter.com/MsSWJ4VIa0— Karell Emard (@KarellEmard) May 2, 2019
The news comes after the Canadian Women’s Hockey League officially shut down operations on May 1. According to The Athletic and confirmed with other sources, the two national programs and player associations had meetings to come together and eventually make this announcement.
This generation of women’s hockey players have always stood up for themselves. In 2017, the United States Women’s National Team threatened to boycott the World Championships if USA Hockey didn’t increase their funding. Eventually, with help from the NHL, USA Hockey agreed and they ended up winning the gold medal. The boycott occurred months after the NWHL announced that all salaries would be cut in an effort to save their season.
In 2014, the Boston Blades forfeited two games over a contract dispute. This generation of women’s hockey players have proved one thing: they are not going to settle for what they have. They know what they deserve and they don’t expect anything less. If Cammi Granato, Geraldine Heaney, Hayley Wickenheiser, and Cassie Campbell opened the door for more opportunities, this generation of players is kicking the door in.
Several members of the US National Team, including current members Alex Carpenter, Hilary Knight, Brianna Decker, and Kacey Bellamy left the NWHL to join the CWHL (in some cases, re-join as they were part of that 2014 Blades team). This new boycott includes players like Amanda Kessel, and Amanda Pelkey who stayed in the NWHL. It also includes Shannon Szabados, the only Canadian national team member to play in the NWHL when she joined the Buffalo Beauts last season.
It remains to be seen what a new league - if one will exist - will look like, but this should end all speculation about the NWHL expanding to Canada.