Inequity on the Ice

Julia Brennan

April 28, 2021

The United States Women’s Ice Hockey team was showered with the praise of millions across the nation in 2018 when they won their first Olympic Gold medal in two decades. Fans and new viewers alike were impressed by the incredible passion the women brought the game and their brilliant prowess they displayed in each competition.

Unfortunately, the window that opens to Olympic athletes every four years has closed, and it is almost as if all of this support and expression of admiration has nearly vanished. Once again, we are seeing the disparity between women’s and men’s athletics, specifically in women's ice hockey, a sport that already suffers so greatly from its male domination. This year, college ice hockey has had the ability to hold their competitions, the NHL has had almost a full regular season, the IIHF Men’s World Championship, and the IIHF World U20 tournament (for men) have already all taken place this year. The Men’s U18 IIHF World Championship is expected to take place at the beginning of May. They had to move their site from Michigan to Texas in order to make sure that the tournament could occur.T he Women's 2021 IIHF National Championship was set to take place in Truro and Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada. On April 20th, 16 days before the competition was set to begin, a mere two weeks before the first National Championship in three years, the governing body of the Canadian province decided to cancel the entire tournament due to concerns of safety regarding COVID-19. Team Hungary was set to fly out to the tournament site that very day, and Team Canada was practicing at what would have been a tournament destination in Halifax when they came off of the ice to receive this heartbreaking news. There was no back-up plan in place for the women’s teams, something that should have been taken into consideration by the IIHF in case something went awry. This is treating the women as less than professional, and it is obvious that the IIHF made sure that the men’s tournaments were meticulously planned with contingency plans as a fail safe. The IIHF has since publicly expressed their sincere condolences for the loss all of the teams are experiencing, and have related that they hope to reschedule the tournament for sometime this summer. The US Women's ice hockey team has since conveyed their fury and disappointment to the media. Kendall Coyne Schofield, known by fans worldwide for her marvelous style of play and her remarkable performance in the 2019 NHL Skills Competition. She articulated the thoughts and emotions in the world of women’s ice hockey with this statement, "We are all wrecked. Devastated for so many reasons. But to learn that there was no contingency plan and the IIHF is letting 250 of the best players in the world return to their homes today with, ‘We are seeking new dates,’ is simply unacceptable." All we can say is that women, you deserve better.