Over 200 women's hockey players will boycott playing in North America this season in an effort to create a sustainable league with better wages.
More than 200 women's hockey players will boycott playing professionally this season in an effort to create a sustainable league with better wages.
The players, which included American stars Hilary Knight and Kendall Coyne Schofield, announced their decision in a statement on Thursday.
"We come together, over 200 players strong, to say it is time to create a sustainable professional league for Women's Hockey," the statement said. "We are coming together, not as individual players, but as one collective voice to help navigate the future and protect the players needs. We cannot make a sustainable living playing in the current state of the professional game."
In the statement, the group addressed some players being paid as little as $2,000 for the season and not having health insurance. Until they receive better resources, the players will boycott playing this season entirely.
Their decision comes one month after the Canadian Women's Hockey League shut down due to financial issues. The National Women's Hockey League, based in the United States, is the only league remaining in North America. Instead of CWHL players trying to snag roster spots on any of the five teams in the NWHL, the group of over 200 players will sit out collectively.
The NWHL was hoping NHL would provide additional support to the league. After the CWHL folded, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman raised the league's contribution to the NWHL from $50,000 to $100,000.
Bettman previously told the Associated Press that he was worried about the CWHL and the NWHL having "sustainable" business models.
In an interview with the AP this week, he maintained the same stance on the remaining NWHL.
"What we’ve repeatedly said is if there turns out to be a void—and we don’t wish that on anybody—then we’ll look at the possibilities and we’ll study what might be appropriate," Bettman said. "But at the end of the day, we’re not looking to put anybody out of business. And if the NWHL can make a go of it, we wish them good luck."