For hockey star Kacey Bellamy, being a key role model in the legacy (Editorial)
When Kacey Bellamy was growing up in Westfield, she said she didn’t have role models. Now, the three-time United States women’s hockey Olympian and 15-year veteran with the United States Women’s National Team says she is thrilled to be on the other side. Talk with teamusa.org, Bellamy said, âIt’s just great to see kids aged 6, up to 15 or 16. I hope the girls play hockey because they love it, and they see the growth and the change we’re making. Hope we can be role models. In 2018, after her American team defeated rivals Canada to win the women’s Olympic gold medal, Bellamy tweeted, âBeing a true role model is above and beyond anything else.
On Tuesday, Bellamy decided to quit American women’s hockey after nine world championships. Bellamy has accomplished a lot in the sport, but her lasting legacy will likely be her influence in inspiring young women around the world to realize their true potential.
Bellamy was part of the 2017 U.S. women’s hockey team that threatened to boycott the International Ice Hockey Federation world championships. The team demanded a better contract, a living wage and better training and support conditions. The U.S. women’s football team staged a similar boycott in 2017 after winning the World Cup. The team was looking for better pay and bonuses. The teams weren’t necessarily looking to match the salaries of the men’s team, but they were looking for better pay, better marketing for the team, and development programs for children playing the sport.
The passage of Federal Law Title IX was designed to create gender equality in education, but also had a profound impact on sports in high school and college. The 1972 law allowed women to be offered the same opportunities as men. Almost 50 years later, women have had opportunities, but they are still far behind when it comes to status and pay. There are still great disparities between women’s and men’s sports. But because of the efforts of players like Bellamy and others, people are starting to pay attention.
In an interview with nhl.com Bellamy was asked if it is gratifying to have helped lead the way for the players. âAbsolutely,â she said. âOver the past 15 years, women’s hockey has skyrocketed. I think there are a lot of youth organizations at the moment. If you see a young boys ‘organization, there’s also a young girls’ organization now. When I was younger at Westfield it was a two hour drive to the nearest girls’ team. Now it’s 10 minutes down the road so it’s really wonderful to see. Being a role model is a huge, huge part of being a professional athlete so I’m really proud of it.