Henrik Lundqvist has once again extended his support to Team Sweden — this time, it’s to the women’s national team and their ‘For the Future’ boycott. The New York Rangers’ netminder has announced his support for their #FörFramtiden movement.
"Det känns som en ohållbar situation för tjejerna. Det måste finnas förutsättningar för att spela i landslaget", säger @HLundqvist30 om Damkronornas strejk. @Trekronorse @swehockeyse https://t.co/5XB1879Xpa— Johan Rylander (@rylanderjohan) August 21, 2019
The Swedish women’s national team is currently boycotting training camp and the upcoming Five Nations Tournament, as explained by Meredith Foster of The Ice Garden. On August 14, 43 national players announced their boycott and posted a coordinated release on social media.
“Starting today, no one will represent the blue and yellow colors before the Swedish Hockey Federation shows us that they are willing to work beside us players to develop and create better grounds for the present roster and for all the upcoming rosters.”
For the full release, an English translation can be found here.
This isn’t the first gender inequity movement from women’s hockey in recent years; it bears resemblance to the United States’ #BeBoldForChange movement from 2017. #BeBoldForChange was a success as the women were victorious in the dispute, and their success carried onto the ice with two World Championship gold medals, and gold at the 2018 Olympics.
Mike Murphy summarized the inequalities faced by the women of Team Sweden earlier this week.
Members of Sweden’s women’s national team receive supplements that are past their “best used by date”, men’s clothes instead of women’s clothes, inadequate travel accommodations, and, according to an SVT report, no daily stipends. Players received around 200 kronor a day as recently as a few years ago. And all of this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a disturbing amount of inequity in how Sweden’s female hockey players are supported compared to its male players.
Johan Rylander of Göteborgs-Posten reported Lundqvist’s support of the movement earlier today, noting the differences in the conditions for the men and women of the national team. “The conditions are so different between women and men. Most of the women work, of course they wouldn’t do this if they thought that they didn’t have to. But it is my belief that they feel they cant get the economy together, and then there is no other way [but to strike]. Of course they want to play in the national team, you are damn proud to do that, but they have to be given the right conditions to be able to do it, and just not return home with a lost income,” Lundqvist’s comments were translated to say.
To find a middle ground that works both for the women of Team Sweden and the Swedish Ice Hockey Association, there has to be a dialogue, Lundqvist explained. “Where are the resources used today? Can we change the prioritization/structure? It is my belief that it is good to start a dialogue, because the situation that the women faces is unsustainable. The most important thing is to start the dialogue. The women need to feel that they are given the right opportunities to preform at their maximum, but at the same time SIHA can’t overextend itself”.
The netminder also highlighted the importance of details at this level, “How you feel as a player is down to the details, it doesn’t have to be big things or major resources. It can be the small things that makes a difference in your preparation. It doesn’t have to be about a lot of money, details are the most important thing at this level”.
Lundqvist isn’t the first men’s national player to show their support, or even the first from the Rangers. Mika Zibanejad will be donating 10 kronor (approximately $1 USD) to women’s hockey for each burger sold at Brödernas, a restaurant he co-owns with his brother and a few friends.
As Murphy noted in the Zibanejad story, at the very least, the value behind pledges and support helps shine a light and bring awareness to these issues.
Robin Kovács, the Rangers’ 62nd overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, was one of the first male players to speak out in support of the boycott. Buffalo Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark has also pledged his support of the #FörFramtiden on Instagram, but the rest of Sweden’s male hockey stars have been silent on the issue thus far. Although, it is worth mentioning that Filip Forsberg and Mattias Ekholm have also voiced what our friends over at On the Forecheck coined a “slightly hazy support” of the boycott.
Lundqvist’s support is another step in the right direction for the women of Team Sweden. He’s been a cornerstone in Swedish hockey throughout his career and has backstopped his country to gold at the World Championship and Olympic level.
He believes — or at least hopes — there will be a solution between the Swedish Ice Hockey Association and women of Team Sweden. “Obviously the women should be there and represent Sweden. It is important for the interest that has been created among the young girls that has started to play hockey.”
Translations courtesy of Patrik Bexell