Finland’s Olympic Female Hockey Goalie Says She Will Quit If She Can’t Play On A Men’s Team

Female hockey players make significantly less money than men. Finland’s goalie, Noora Räty, says she will be forced into retirement if she can’t play on a professional competitive team.

1. Finland’s goalie, Noora Räty, said that she plans to retire after the Sochi Olympics unless she can play in a competitive league that doesn’t require her to work a second job.

Phil Noble / Reuters

Given the status quo, Räty says, this means she would need to play in a men’s league. She says she made the decision after realizing that quitting the sport she loves might be the only way to make a living and sustain herself financially.

2. Räty said she wanted to make the announcement after Sochi, but let it slip in an interview. She then tweeted a longer statement explaining her reasoning.

3. “Before the season started, I made a decision that my national team career will end here in Sochi,” she wrote. “Also, I will hang up my skates for good if I can’t play professional hockey IN A COMPETITIVE LEAGUE next season.”

Chuck Myers / MCT

4. “I’m 24-years-old, out of the college, single, and the money doesn’t grow in trees,” Räty explained.

Laszlo Balogh / Reuters

5. “And I’m not the only player having this problem… the majority of female players have the same problem.”

Jim Young / Reuters

6. “In fact, I don’t feel that women’s hockey can grow or get any better in the future if the USA or Canada don’t get a professional league started soon.”

Jim Young / Reuters

7. “That is the next critical step that our sport needs to take or our sport will never be respected like it should be. Asking players to work full-time and then training like a pro athlete at the same time is just too much and unfair.”

Road to 2018 Olympics started today ;)

— Noora Räty (@Nooraty41)

9. Some people told her she should just be happy to play in the Olympics, but Räty responded she’s never made money from playing, even after three Olympic games and a college hockey career in the U.S.

@GopherTheW i've never made money from playing. But yes i'm beyond honored to be able to rep Finland in Sochi #dreamcometrue

— Noora Räty (@Nooraty41)

10. Women’s teams have been formed following Olympic games before, and so it’s possible (but not likely) that either a professional female Hockey team may form, or that Räty will be picked up by an all male team.

11. A Daily Dot article on the subject noted that some women have played on men’s hockey teams in the past; Canadian goalie Manon Rhéaume played for several professional minor-league teams in the ’90s.

REUTERS/Matt Slocum

12. “Basically, if a world-class female hockey player wants to get paid to do her job, then she has a better chance of doing so in a men’s team than of waiting for a professional women’s league to show up before she retires,” the Daily Dot article says.

Pool / Reuters

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