Brianna Decker will be paid for her efforts incompetition after all. That money just won't be coming from the league.
Instead, Decker will be paid $25,000 by the hockey equipment company CCM. The company made the decision to pay Decker following a strong social media movement to reward the U.S. Women's National Team hockey player (and 2018 Olympic gold medalist) for her impressive showing in Friday's Skills event.
Decker was enlisted by the NHL to demonstrate the Premier Passing drill prior to the actual competition, which featured eight NHL contestants. Decker completed the passing drill with an unofficial time that was reported to be 1:06, which -- if official -- would have been tops among all competitors. The Edmonton Oilers' Leon Draisaitl won the event with a time of 1:09 and was awarded the $25,000 prize from the league.
A lot of fans felt that money should have been given to Decker even though she wasn't officially in the competition. But the NHL balked at the idea and disputed Decker's reported time around the course.
NHL did check Brianna Decker’s time. Was around 1:12-13 — still outstanding in a very hard event. Wanted to “do the right thing” if she did win. Decker, Kendall Coyne-Schofield, Rebecca Johnston and Renata Fast will be recognized tonight.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 27, 2019
It's worth noting that even if Decker didn't actually top Draisaitl's time of 1:09, she undoubtedly beat at least six other contestants who had times higher than 1:25.
After the NHL's denial, CCM swooped in and made the decision to fork over the money. The company announced it with a letter to Decker on social media Saturday.
Decker, who is vastly underpaid as a women's pro hockey player, responded to the gesture with gratitude on Saturday.
Decker, 27, wasn't the only woman to make waves with her performance at the Skills Competition on Friday. Her USWNT teammate Nathan MacKinnon) and delivered a phenomenal time of 14.346 -- good enough to finish seventh ahead of one of the NHL competitors (Arizona Coyotes forward Clayton Keller).(she filled in for
On Saturday, it was also announced that both Decker and Coyne (along with Canadian Women's National Team stars Renata Fast and Rebecca Johnston) had been signed by adidas. The four women got multi-year sponsorship deals and will "play prominent roles in brand initiatives and be featured in marketing campaigns."
Overall, a pretty good weekend for women's hockey.