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Culture > News

Team USA Women’s Hockey Wins the Gold Medal, First in 20 Years

The women’s hockey team for Team USA played the game of the century and took home the gold, ending the official 20-year Olympic gold medal drought. The gold medal had eluded the team since the inaugural women’s hockey tournament at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, USA Today Sports reports.

The greatest game very fittingly took place on what was the 38th anniversary of the U.S. men’s hockey 1980 “Miracle on Ice” victory over the Soviet Union, CBS Sports reports.

Despite the constant success of the Canadian women’s team in the Olympic hockey tournament, the U.S. women’s hockey team ended up defeating the Canadian team 3-2. The U.S. women went ahead of the Canadians, 1-0, in the first period of the game, but Canada came back to take the lead, 2-1, in the second period, USA Today Sports reports. Team USA ultimately tied up the game with only about six minutes remaining in the game, and it ended up going into overtime and then a shootout.

This win was the perfect way to wrap up an incredible year for the U.S. women, who have now won major victories on and off the ice.

According to CBS Sports, last March, just weeks before the 2017 Women’s World Championships were to take place in Michigan, members of the U.S. women’s hockey team announced that they would be boycotting the tournament to fight for fair wages and equitable support from USA Hockey.

The women’s hockey team and USA Hockey had been in negotiations for over a year, and had made little progress on reaching a deal. With the tournament around the corner, the women’s hockey team saw an opportunity to make a statement.

The U.S. women were only making approximately $6,000 every four years, and were not receiving nearly as many benefits or funding for developmental programs like the men’s hockey team, CBS Sports reports.

“It is a full-time job and to not get paid is a financial burden and stress on the players, obviously,” U.S. women’s hockey forward Jocelyne Lamoureux, who scored the winning shootout goal in hockey final, told ESPN back in March. “That is the conversation my husband and I are having right now. Is playing going to be more stress than we can handle? Sadly it becomes a decision between chasing your dream or giving in to the reality of the financial burden.”

USA Hockey released a statement after the announcement of the boycott, saying that they had always been fair to the women’s team and had provided them equitable support.

Just before the tournament, USA Hockey relented and agreed on annual salaries of $70,000, with a chance to earn almost $100,000 with added medal bonuses. USA Hockey also agreed to give the U.S. women insurance equal to what the men received, as well as more funding for developmental programs, CBS Sports reports.

I think it’s safe to say that the women’s hockey team deserved this medal.

“The greatest day of all of our lives,” U.S. captain Meghan Duggan said after their win, USA Today Sports reports.

“I’m so happy. Just take a picture of my face,” said 30-year-old veteran Gigi Marvin.

We could not be any more proud of what the women’s hockey team has been able to accomplish, and for being fearless on and off the ice.

Emily has also authored political articles for Restless Magazine and numerous inspirational and empowering pieces for Project Wednesday. When she isn't writing, she can be found flying off to her next adventure, attempting new recipes, listening to one of her infinite playlists on Spotify, or cuddling with her dogs. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @emilycveith.