CreditChang W. Two years after the players threatened to boycott the world championship tournament over pay equity, U. Members of the team have skated in the skills competition at N.
All-Star weekend and served as analysts for N. Participation in the sport among girls and women is skyrocketing. But halfway through the labor contract with U.
Hockey signed in March , as the national team begins its pursuit of a fifth straight world championship in Finland this week, its players wonder whether the future of their sport is as bright as the present.
Hockey in the contract has been slow to develop. Minimal promotion for the team and a lack of organizational diversity in U. Hockey also raise concerns from players and female alumni that little has changed.
Hockey declined, according to three people with direct knowledge of those projects. In an interview late last year, forward Hilary Knight lamented that the team disappeared when its popularity was at its highest. Last month, the two nations finally staged a three-game exhibition series, with one game in the United States.
An announced crowd of 9, fans attended the game in Detroit, which was also broadcast live on NHL Network. But other avenues to increase exposure do not need Canadian co-signs, like merchandising.
Nike, the official apparel supplier of U. Neither does U. Coyne Schofield, one of the players who has been featured by the N. It needs to be accessible in every fashion.
As with the jerseys, the American players handle much of their promotion themselves.
Despite repeated requests from athletes, U. Soccer has. The players have lobbied the N. Over the past two years, U. Hockey declined repeated requests to discuss the group.
The New York Times confirmed the participation of at least five women in the group, including hockey executives and members of the Olympic team. Multiple people with knowledge of meetings said the group was stagnant in its first year and only recently began having meaningful conversations.
One player said she was unsure if she was allowed to talk about the group. In March, the N. Hockey, and several former members of the U. Of all American Winter Olympic governing sports bodies, U.
Hockey has the lowest percentage of women on its board of directors There are full-fledged councils within U. Hockey devoted to youth, adult and junior hockey, but none specifically for girls and women.
Proponents for U. Lynn Olson became the first woman hired to work for U. During her tenure, which ended in , Olson described U.
Olson also said she tried to make the section a full-fledged council, which would provide more influence, writing up legislation that never passed. Olson noted that more women wanted to be involved in U. Hockey, but had a hard time getting elected to positions of power.
Veteran leaders of the hockey team expressed faith that the culture could change under Kelleher, who was named U.
In recent months, he met with players in Maine, Chicago and Michigan. Knight said she did not yet foresee a repeat of the fraught negotiations that led to the boycott threat and a fracture between U.
Hockey seems to be aware of the need for more gender balance.