A Thank You To The US Women's National Hockey Team
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A Thank You To The US Women's National Hockey Team

Thank you for your bravery, your boldness and your perseverance

A Thank You To The US Women's National Hockey Team

To the US Women's National Hockey Team,

I'd like to say thank you to each and everyone for your bravery, your boldness that you have portrayed in your fight for equitable treatment and support.

You were all willing to not take part in the biggest international tournament of the year in order to get what you deserved and what the girls at the grassroots level deserve.

You were willing to have your title of World Champions be taken away and willing to sit out on your first international tournament on home turf in order to make things right.

You were willing to make USA Hockey forfeit the entire tournament and possibly mess up the rankings and placement for the 2018 Olympics in order to get what you and your predecessors have been fighting for for 20 years.

You knew the risks going into this historic boycott. You knew that if it didn't work, if you didn't all band together, that each and every one of you may end up without a spot on the National Team this year and possibly even next year during the Olympics. For the veterans, you all realized that if it didn't work out in your favor, you may never wear a USA jersey again. And for the younger players, you jeopardized your future and career in hockey for this cause.

As soon as I heard about the boycott, I stood behind you, as the majority of the female hockey community did. As the next few days progressed, thousands and thousands showed support on social media and it became so much bigger than I'm sure you imagined it would be.

And when USA Hockey began searching for scabs to make up a replacement team?

Everyone said no.

First. the NCAA DI girls passed them up along with the NWHL girls. And then the elite prep school girls said no. And then NCAA DIII girls said no. Even a few postgraduate girls who hadn't played collegiate hockey a number of years said no. Heck, they got so desperate to try to field a team without you that they reached out to U19 girls who had never played internationally.

You inspired girls everywhere, from your teammates in the NWHL and NCAA to the little girls playing youth hockey.

And in the end, your perseverance paid off.

Now, with your four-year contracts and better financial support, you won't have to quit before you're 35 because you want to have a family. And neither will the rookies who are on the first time or the girls just coming into the USA Hockey system at the U18 level.

What you were fighting for was so much more than a pay raise. It was so much more than a group of spoiled athletes who wanted millions of dollars. It was something so much bigger than yourselves, it was about the future our game.

The deal was reached on Tuesday night, three days before you were set to start the tournament with a game against Canada on Friday night.

You flew into Detroit and made it to Plymouth for a practice on Thursday so I made sure I got to go and show you the support you had here in Michigan, so my family and I made two signs.

In an article for the National Post, Megan Keller said if there was any doubt in anyone's mind about the support of the fans, it was gone when you saw the signs at practice (you can read the National Post article here)

And then you sold out USA Hockey Arena the next night against Canada.

The arena was filled with little girls and women alike, all in their jerseys, t-shirts and American flags, cheering you on as you shut down the reigning Olympic Gold Medalists 2-0 after having one practice prior to the tournament.

Next was Russia, the game I got to watch, three rows from the glass behind the Russian net, my American Flag on my lap as I waited for goals to be scored. Final score there was 7-0.

I had the opportunity to go to the World Championships in Plymouth once for your practice on Thursday and once so far to the game against Russia on Saturday. It was only the second time I'd gotten to see you play live and in person. In 19 years I'd never gotten to see this team play anywhere near where I lived. International tournaments were typically in Europe and the best bet I ever had to watch was if the NHL Network aired games. Or I got to see Olympic games on NBCSN.

But there I was, sitting three rows from the glass as you thumped Russia 7-0, seeing you play for the first time ever.

When I decided I wanted to play hockey, it wasn't because I got to see a National Team game in my home state or seen them in a game in a non-Olympic year on TV. I started playing hockey because my brother already played. He started playing because he spent so much time watching the Red Wings play on TV 82 times a season.

The exposure you fought for will make stories like that obsolete.

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson said in Sports Illustrated “The next generation has been at the forefront of our message this whole time and we want girls to be able to see women's national team players. We want them to see it on TV, on social media, and what they can see, they can dream that then. We feel like that's a very, very essential part to this whole agreement.”

On Saturday, I saw so many little girls in their hockey jerseys and jackets, waving their American flags, it made me so happy that they all got to see their heroes playing in person at such a young age, that they got to be exposed to it so young.

That is what you were fighting for.

Now, you and the future members of the USWNT will no longer have to find two side jobs in order to be able to pay to play at the highest level. No other girl will grow up to have a moment where she breaks down crying in the grocery store parking lot on the phone with her mom like Hilary Knight described.

That is what you were fighting for.

Those little girls in the stands now have the opportunity to not only become the elite of the elite and if and when they become the best of the best, they will be paid and supported like they're the best in the world.

That is what you were fighting for.

And it's nothing short of inspiring.

After the game, a few of you signed autographs for fans that would stick around. I still had my sign in the car so I went out and brought it in for you all to sign.

I couldn't believe it as I went through the line and you were all thanking me , you were the ones risking everything, you were the ones who were being brave, being bold and taking a stand. So I decided to write this letter to each and every one of you because it's the least I can do after all you have done for our game.

Image courtesy of Peggy Costello

When I was 16 turning 17, I had to quit playing hockey. There were 3 U19 teams in the entire state of Michigan, none of which were in a two hour radius of my hometown. I can't play anymore, I've aged out of youth hockey and college hockey isn't really an option after not playing competitively for three seasons now, but I've done just a little bit to make sure other girls don't have to quit like I did. But what you guys have done and conitnue to do will really make sure little girls won't have to share my story in ten years. Like the National Post said, that's why you did what you did.

Thank you will never cut it.



A patriotic fan (can you tell by the flag draped over my shoulders?), a female hockey player, an advocate for girl's hockey at a much smaller level and most of all, a member of the hockey community.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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