It took me a while to figure out what I was going to write this week with regards to women’s sports. Sure, Garbiñe Muguruza won Wimbledon and she can definitely make a run at becoming the next great female tennis player, but there is only so far I can stretch that story. Here, I’ll do it in one sentence for you: She can be great if she keeps up with her amazing forehand and figures out how to stop making so many double faults on service.
As you can see, I needed to find a little inspiration somewhere else this week. So I thought I would go searching for some and look into a team that has been on my mind recently, but just haven’t had a chance to learn about – the U.S. Women’s Ice Hockey Team.
Turns out, they are even better than the hype. And I could really drag this article out for many, many pages, but I think it would be better to just give you a taste of what they are about. Because it really didn’t take me long to get excited about them, and I don’t think it will take you too long to jump on the bandwagon with me.
So here it is – 3 reasons you are going to want to root for the USWNT:
- They are good…like, freakishly good
Every year the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) holds the Women’s World Championship (with the exception of during an Olympic year). The U.S. Women have a record of 71-4-6-8-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T). To make it even better they have outscored their opposition 593-135. And who has won the World Championship for the past four years in a row? I’ll give you a hint – they rock the red, white, and blue.
So, let me put it bluntly – this team is easy to love and easy to root for. You know you are getting dominance when they skate out onto the ice. And for every American who, like me, hates to see other teams come out with a win, this team is for you. They work hard, and they play harder, and man, do they know how to keep a championship streak alive!
- The Rivalry
Some people really love a good rivalry in sports. Sometimes it simply isn’t enough to be the best – there has to be some drama in it. And there has to be one matchup that makes the stakes even higher. Well, don’t worry, my friends, these ladies have that going for them too.
In every gold medal match in IIHF Women’s World Championship history the U.S. Women have played Canada. How is that for a rivalry? Every year it comes down to us and our neighbors to the north? Heck yes – sign me up. We all know how I feel about the U.S./Canada Women’s Soccer rivalry, and now it’s as if I was gifted a second chance to get that riled up again. And yes, Canada has claimed that prize 10 of the 18 times, but the U.S. is coming back with a vengeance winning 8 of the last 10. So who is ready for the PyeongChang Olympics?
- They know their worth
Okay, so to be fair, I did know about this before I did my research on the team, but this is probably the most amazing reason that you should back these women. These women had the courage to threaten to sit out the World Championships if they did not get fair pay. It was a 15-month long contract dispute that could have ended with the women getting no money, no championship, and no future prospects with regards to the game.
Some may think this is crazy, but they probably don’t realize just what the women were asking for – a livable wage, increased marketing efforts, and USA Hockey’s support of elite programs. Seriously. These women weren’t asking for millions of dollars. In fact, they finally settled around the $70,000 range for salary. Want to know what they made before? $6,000…every four years when they went to the Olympics. Yeah, let that sink in. The current best team in women’s hockey got paid about $28.85 per week to represent the United States on the biggest stage in sports. I can work at McDonalds for 3 hours, one day a week and make more money than that. Ready to back them yet?
So there it is. Three things that should make you want to put on some face paint and an oversized hockey jersey and get way too riled up in front of your television once the Olympics comes around. And I know you are now thoroughly convinced, but just in case you want a little more incentive or inspiration to cheer for these ladies, check out ESPN’s latest Body Issue – U.S. Women’s Ice Hockey had quite the showing.
Until next time…GO U.S.A.!