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Quick Strikes: The Point of #PayDecker

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And did you see Stamkos’ goal?

2019 NHL All-Star - Red Carpet
SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 25: Renata Fast, Brianna Decker, Kendall Coyne and Rebecca Johnston arrive at the 2019 NHL All-Star Red Carpet on January 25, 2019 in San Jose, California.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Bolts at the All Star Game

First off, holy crap Steven Stamkos !!!!

Scoring sick goals on the ice wasn’t the only thing Stammer was doing this weekend. He took some time out of his day to speak with John Tavares in an exclusive Sportsnet interview. Definitely worth your time.

Coop got the Big Board!

But honestly, Coop has an infectious personality, and his time during the Atlantic’s only game on TV with the Canadian broadcast was just amazing. He did a great job showing the world what us Bolts fans already know about him: he’s extremely fun, professional, and creative. I didn’t like some of his lineup choice, though.

Who knew that the NHL All- Star game would be fun, but it was! Let’s do it again.

The Prospects

Alex has been having a banger week at the site. Her latest feature is an All-Star of the modern-era Syracuse Crunch. It is a heck of a list. [Raw Charge]

With the All-Star festivities kicking off this weekend, it was suggested by a Twitter follower that I put together an ultimate Syracuse Crunch All-Star roster. Given that it was much easier to recognize names from the past decade and a half, I limited myself to only that time period. I went through the AHL All-Star rosters of the past fifteen years and picked out the Crunch’s representatives. Once I was done, I had a list that looked like this:

The Crunch also played a game on Saturday, and won! [Syracuse]

Where would we be without Carter Verhaeghe. [Youtube Highlights]

#PayDecker

For better or worse, one shalt never doubt the power of Twitter. Saturday was one of those rare days where a social movement starting on Twitter did something for the better, namely the hashtage #PayDecker.

It all started with our SBN coworker Eleni (@StrongForecheck) who writes for The Ice Garden sending out a tweet at 12:02am on Friday night. It was not long before this that Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers was announced as the fastest person to complete the “Premier Passer” competition at the All Star Skills competition. This was, in fact, not true because his time of 69 seconds was three seconds slower than Brianna Decker’s 66 seconds while she was demonstrating the challenge for the men.

From this one tweet, the movement grew. More and more people starting picking up the hashtag and tweeting it at the NHL, Oilers, and any tweets associated with Draisaitl’s win as Saturday morning turned into the afternoon. By midday, it was a full-blown craze. People were making memes, finding clever ways to embed the hashtag in their regularly scheduled tweets, retweeting each other the whole time. Blogs were being written and by the afternoon, it was trending #1 in Canada and it was apparently high in the USA, as well.

Okay, but why do this? Why did it catch so much steam? Two reasons:

1. She won. Despite not officially being part of the tournament, the American Olympic Champion and CWHL All-Star for the Calgary Inferno had participated in a challenge and won. Shouldn’t that mean she deserves the $25,000 prize money?

2. People on the internet cannot help but correct things that are wrong, morally or technically. And when it’s a combination of both, oh boy.

But like most (all) arguments, there were two sides. The men (not all, we know) on Twitter dug their claws into the dirt and couldn’t let go of one singular idea. This camp took time out of their day to pour over footage and prove that Decker had actually completed the task in 74 seconds. It was sweet of them for trying, but they woefully missed the point(s). As did the NHL when they later in the day announced they had poured over the footage to determine that she had not in fact put in the best time.

So what are the points? There are three.

1. Decker only makes $10,000 in a year in the CWHL despite being one of the more richly paid players in the league. The vast majority of players (if not all) across both the CWHL and NWHL have to work second or third jobs in order to earn a living. For an Olympic-calibre hockey player — who can clearly compete with the best of the best among their male counterparts — that’s pretty sad. Why shouldn’t a multi-billion dollar corporation like the NHL more than double the salary of a well-deserving hockey player that appeared to win a contest that created an extrordinary amount of press and entertainment?

2. It’s not about the money, it’s about the movement. Women’s hockey isn’t dainty and cute and boring. These players are fast (honestly, I can’t stop thinking about Kendall Coyne Schofield’s lap), talented, and hungry. They are good — really good — at their craft, and it’s long past time for them to get the international recognition the NHL can provide. Decker deserves the right to be able to say she won that contest. that she can hang with, and beat, the best passers in the NHL. What was Erik Karlsson’s or Sebastian Aho’s or Roman Josi’s time? That’s right, worse than 66 seconds (and 74 seconds).

3. Because it was free advertising for women’s hockey and a chance for companies to see how passionate hockey fans can be. You can’t look at #PayDecker trending in the United States and Canada and think there isn’t a market for these players and their skills. And it was a win-win. Hockey Twitter got to flex their community altering muscles, Decker got her money, and a big corporation in CCM got some amazing advertising.

The NHL followed (five hours later) with a tweet of their own, stating that they will donate $25,000 to each of the four charities/organizations the four athletes (Decker, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Renata Fast, and Rebecca Johnston) choose.

The NHL probably thought this would go over well, but it didn’t. Giving someone more money than their annual salary and then forcing them to donate it to charity is a bizarrely cruel thing to do.

All the NHL had to go was pay Decker the 25k, which is nothing to them, yesterday morning when the movement started gaining steam. 25k to promote women’s hockey, to be inclusive, and to swipe the world’s easiest PR victory by creating a feel good moment for the sport during one of the league’s biggest events of the year. And they couldn’t get that right. Instead, they spent the whole day trying to find a way to ruin it and come out looking terrible showcasing the absolute worst things about this league.

Adidas, on the other hand, got in on the PR action. I would love to hear the story of how this happened, especially if it wasn’t pre-planned before Friday’s and Saturday’s events.

Despite the league’s nonsense, Hockey Twitter was a lot of fun on Saturday, and I’m glad the overwhelming majority of people are decent human beings who want to grow hockey. The wave of stories that came out of this day was really crazy. There were countless parents tweeting videos of their young daughters and sons watching Coyne and Decker and Johnston and Fast kicking ass at the skills competition and falling in love with the game. In my little corner of the web, I counted three different dads sharing that they were on their way to go buy a CCM stick, the first for their daughters. It was heart-warming and hopeful.

If you would like to see the whole timeline, feel free to scroll down my Twitter account. I retweeted pretty much everything. Also, I’ll link to a few articles below that might be interesting. Katya of PPP and Leighannstrollo of TIG both are much more capable writers on this subject, and I would be doing you an injustice if I didn’t share the opinion of real experts.

Oh, and don’t forget to support your local women’s hockey leagues! Go to a game! Buy the merch! Blog about it, tweet about it, facebook it, show the TV networks that they are worth investing airtime (and money) in!

The Best of the NHL All-Star Game

Those pelvic thrusts were...something! Loved seeing Auston Matthews and Joe Pavelski get creative.

Keith Yandle made himself useful at the ASG by doing some hilarious Instagram lives for the NHL account. It was truly hilarious.

Coaches can be fun, too! in their own way.

And let’s not forget the mascots. They certainly put on a show!

And you gotta love Wyatt! Good work, kid!

Highlight of the Night: Sidney Crosby was at the All-Star Game? Who knew!