2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

Noah Underwood

University of Alberta
#BeBoldForChange: How the US Women’s National Hockey Team Used Twitter and Labor Strategies to Strike a New Deal

This paper explores the tactics used by the United States Women’s National Hockey Team (USWNT) during their threatened boycott of the 2017 Women’s World Hockey Championships, specifically their usage of neoliberal feminist strategies. The team used a series of coordinated tweets to promote their cause, to debunk misleading claims from USA Hockey, and to inspire women and girls from across the country to #BeBoldForChange. This strategy proved to be effective, as their message of unity, strength, and future growth was received favourably by the general public. While the agreement with USA Hockey is a positive step for the future of women’s hockey in the U.S, the team positioned their labour action as one of equity within the current USA Hockey system, rather than radical change. As Eileen Narcotta-Welp (2015) notes “The [1999 USA Women’s Soccer Team] was celebrated as an emblem of American womanhood that includes all women, [but] closer inspection reveals it actually worked to maintain the narrow ideals of nationalism, gender, and race.” (p. 390). The USWNT can be understood in a similar light, as their demands only asked to be included in USA Hockey’s existing framework, rather than reshape it to be equitable for all who wish to participate.