I feel increasingly tired and cranky about women’s hockey and how it is covered and how people who do not watch regularly talk about it.
First, we get it: fans, mostly men, who don’t watch women’s hockey think it isn’t good enough or fast enough and that the lack of hitting and fighting is a drawback. (Uh, type usa canada women 2013 into your search bar and look what comes up. I like that there is less hitting and fighting and more actual game play, but tastes vary.) And you tell us that at every opportunity. Frankly, we are aware that you think that way, and yours isn’t the interest we are seeking. Go watch Don Cherry re-runs. Women’s hockey is not a carbon copy of men’s hockey, and complaining because it isn’t is a waste of time and breath.
On that same note, please stop saying that the women want a hand out and don’t deserve it. The NHL and its predecessors were money losers for decades. You know who gave them money? Tax payers did. (Link via David Berri.) So stop saying women are asking for special treatment; they are asking for equal treatment, the same hand out that the NHL got.
Second: the mainstream* coverage of the PWHPA lacks any sort criticism; nothing they say is interrogated in a meaningful way. The loudest PWHPA speakers have been racist jerks; former players with axes to grind; and current national team players who come across as petty grudge-holders. HockeyNight’s coverage last night included blatantly inaccurate statements about the NWHL, and framed the PWHPA as a union (which it is not) engaged in a boycott (which this is also not).
*They are happy to talk to big men’s hockey outlets and national reporters who don’t actually know the nitty gritty of woho, but based on the woho media I follow, they ignore pretty much everyone else and fail to provide even basic press information. (That was a criticism of the NWHL early on too, but they learned from it and are much improved. People forget that the league is five years old. That’s an infant in professional sports league terms.)
Third: the big voices on social media for the PWHPA may be standing up for national team players, but it isn’t really clear to me as an observer that they are doing shit for the lower tier players…who are getting a change to play in the NWHL since there is space now.
As a fan, would I love for professional women’s hockey to pay a living wage? Yes. Would I buy tickets, merch, pay to stream games? Yes. The PWHPA has not made any of these opportunities available to me. You know who has? The NWHL. So I’m going to continue buying tickets and merch and streaming the NWHL games (which are free on Twitch). And I’m going to continue to side eye everyone who claims that there is no women’s hockey league in North America. There is; it’s just not the one players claiming they wanted #OneLeague actually wanted to survive the CWHL/NWHL competition.
The PWHPA seems to be hoping the NWHL will just go away (or be put out of business by the NHL), which is kind of pathetic and short-sighted, IMO. Boston and Minnesota have sold out their games this season; the league has added another investor and multiple sponsors; they are sharing revenue with players. It also seems naive to me: why do you think a women’s league operated by Bettman et al. would be good for women? Do you think they’ll handle CTE differently for women? Do you think they’ll release players for the Olympics or Nationals? That seems unlikely.
Ugh. Get off my lawn. I’ve got a Riveters game to go to.