$2M is a nice start

Thanks to the International Ice Hockey Federation, women’s hockey in European countries will receive a financial boost to help grow the sport at the grass-roots and elite levels.

Women’s hockey — and growing the game globally — was the hot topic this morning at the Molson Canadian World Hockey Summit.

And in response, the International Ice Hockey Federation announced it’s prepared to commit $2 million to help federations grow the sport at the grass-roots level.

n276855599228_1407“(IIHF president) Rene Fasel is here (along with others) and they listened to you attentively,” said IIHF vice-president Murray Costello. “We’re parepared to make a commitment of $2 million to women’s hockey but the federations have to have a plan to move forward.”

Money is great and desperately needed, given that the Swedish national women’s team has an Olympic-year budget of about $400,000 … half that of the annual operating budget of the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux.

But the IIHF has no response to the women’s request for representation at the board level. Check out a picture of the IIHF council. It’s a bunch of old guys in suits.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll see pictures of Beate Grupp, team doctor of Germany’s national women’s team, and Monique Scheier-Schneider, who has held high positions in Luxembourg hockey.

Are they voting positions?

No.

Are they representative of women’s hockey specifically?

No.

“We need leadership in all the federations, leadership in the IIHF,” says Melody Davidson, head coach of Canada’s women’s national team. “We need people at the board tables that want to fight the battle for women’s hockey, that don’t have to pick between development programs or men’s hockey. They can just fight for women.”

It’s the point Wickenheiser has been driving home since Day 1 of the Summit.

“The IIHF has nobody in place that reports to the executive and represnets women’s hockey,” she says.

It’s been 19 years since women first started playing for a women’s world hockey championship.

Isn’t high time they started having a voice at the table?

The IIHF told women hockey players they’ve heard the concern about the lack of financial funding.

But is that just a pat on the head with a ‘there, there, go shopping for a purse or a pair of shoes’?

Give the women a voice.

Let them sit on the council as full voting executive and help the federation take women’s hockey to new heights.

If she wasn’t still playing, I’d vote for Wick.

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