Following last month’s collapse of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, more than 200 top female hockey players have unionized and are eyeing a boycott of their sole remaining option for professional play, the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), without improved working conditions.
The players have created a new union, the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA), and are pushing for a “single, viable women’s professional league in North America.” The association which includes many of the most prominent North American and European stars of the women’s game, and have already pledged to not play in the NWHL next season unless they gain better resources, infrastructure, and health benefits are afforded to the players.
“We are fortunate to be ambassadors of this beautiful game, and it’s our responsibility to make sure the next generation of players have more opportunities than we had,” 2018 Olympic Gold Medalist and NWHL veteran Kendall Coyne Schofield said in a statement. “It’s time to stand together and work to create a viable league that will allow us to enjoy the benefits of our hard work.”
The labor flashpoint arrives as players have complained of pro salaries as low as $2,000 each, per season, and no available health insurance, conditions they say are not sustainable.
”We are prepared to stop playing for a year, which is crushing to even think about, because we know how important a sustainable league will be to the future of women’s sports,” Canadian national team goalie Shannon Szabados said in a statement.