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Editorial

Falcon hockey players take admirable stand, choose solidarity over personal success

March 30, 2017

UW-River Falls has been in the national news lately because of an amazing opportunity extended to three of its hockey players – and those players deciding not to take it. The Student Voice commends the decision made by these selfless student athletes.

USA Hockey was in a dispute about pay with the U.S. Women’s National Team for quite a while, 15 months according to WCCO-TV. Claiming they were not being paid a living wage, the hockey players threatened to refuse to play at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship on March 31 in Plymouth, Michigan. Rightfully so, they wanted more than they were getting for their hard work.

On Saturday, Falcon hockey players Dani Sibley, Carly Moran and Paige Johnson were among the athletes across the country offered tryouts to play as substitutes at the championship. After talking to some of the players from the national team, all three of the Falcons turned down the offer. Even though it was the opportunity of a lifetime, potentially being offered the chance to represent the country, these incredible athletes said no, instead choosing solidarity.

Here’s the amazing thing: It worked. National players originally said that they were being paid $6,000, just $1,000 for each of the six months leading up to the Olympics. The remaining three and a half years between Olympics, they earned almost nothing, according to NPR. This left the players needing to find extra sources of income, which was ridiculous. We certainly don’t think of the fantastic athletes who represent our country every four years as being compensated so poorly.

Eventually, USA Hockey caved. According to WCCO, it is now offering nearly $70,000 to players, with performance bonuses and travel benefits. Depending how well the players do at the Olympics, they might each earn up to six figures. ESPN reports that these benefits are now on par with what is given to the men’s team.

As enraging as it is that this issue existed at all, it’s remarkable for us to be able to say that athletes at our university helped inspire change like this. What Sibley, Moran and Johnson did is admirable. They could have undermined the entire effort by the national team. They could have made the decision based on their own potential personal gain. They didn’t.

This kind of solidarity is amazing, and if we continue to unite against inequality in ways like this, we could create even more change.

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