I ‘m no professional film critic, but if I had a vote for Best Picture at the Oscars this year, it would go to Battle of the Sexes. (Side note: My Grammy vote for Song of the Year would’ve gone to the new Ed Sheeran and Beyonce collab, but that’s a debate for another day).
You’re probably familiar, but the film’s plot is loosely based on Billie Jean King’s fight for equal recognition (and fair pay) for women’s tennis players and her milestone match against Bobby Riggs in 1973.
The irony is that the plot might as well have been loosely based on women’s hockey in 2017.
Coming off our year-long fight for equitable treatment from USA Hockey, we made it a point to go see the movie as a team and share in the experience together. I had a related “pinch me” moment earlier in the year when Billie Jean reached out to us to express her support for our own battles of the sexes. Having her encouragement and guidance lit a fire in our hearts.
As the Captain of the US Women’s National Hockey Team, I have one obvious driving force and mission: winning gold. It’s been my dream since I was a ten-year-old girl just discovering the ice on the North Shore of Massachusetts.
But as I’ve matured, I’ve realized that with that gold medal comes a question: Now what?
And that’s why it’s important to remember that as athletes, we also have the ability to be creators and influencers.
Digital media, social channels, and brand partners like CCM Hockey give me the platform to showcase my creativity and use my influence — and not just with the intent of influencing consumers’ purchase decisions but, rather, influencing young fans’ dreams.
Why a former Nike exec would bet the swoosh on a distributed athlete-media model.
CCM is an absolutely amazing partner. They don’t just stand behind us; they put their money where their mouth is, and it’s been incredible to see the evolution in their promotion of women’s hockey.
In the midst of our fight for fairness in the spring, CCM approached the team about collaborating on a campaign. We gave them a ton of insight into how we were feeling, how we were training, words we visualize, and the mantras we live by, and they gave us the opportunity to help shape the ad’s script.
The campaign, entitled Made of Hockey, includes a full length ad featuring our whole ensemble and answering one core question: “What do you play for?” The rest of the campaign is focused on telling our individual stories across a series of six short digital videos.
The digital nature of the campaign also allows us to continue to share our message of inspiration and influence for young girls with a powerful partner behind it. Social media is the way the world interacts now so it’s an incredibly valuable asset to any movement. And this campaign is exactly that — a movement.
It was an ambitious and admirable project, and the guys and gals wearing the directors’ and producers’ hats over there did an incredible job encapsulating both the athlete and the creative within each of us.
Our objective is to show the world that we’re a group of amazing, powerful, passionate, and strong women, each using their own strengths to achieve a common goal — a goal that some of us have come up short on once, if not twice.
Make no mistake about it, we secured the ultimate victory earlier this year, but we don’t want to see someone else celebrating when it’s all said and done.
See you on the ice.
Meghan Duggan is a native of Danvers, MA and has been on the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team since 2007–08. She currently plays for the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League.
Enjoy more thought leadership on the role of athletes and creators in the new sports economy at our annual innovation conference, Hashtag Sports.