USA Hockey Strikes Deal With Women's National Team, Avoiding Boycott
The women's team has said they will not compete in the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championships unless their wage concerns are addressed
USA Hockey’s board and the women’s national team have reached an agreement over their wages after months of back-and-forth.
“Today reflects everyone coming together and compromising in order to reach a resolution for the betterment of the sport,” USA Hockey president Jim Smith said in a statement. “We’ll now move forward together knowing we’ll look back on this day as one of the most positive in the history of USA Hockey.”
Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.
“Our sport is the big winner today,” said Meghan Duggan, captain of the U.S. Women’s National Team. “We stood up for what we thought was right and USA Hockey’s leadership listened. In the end, both sides came together. I’m proud of my teammates and can’t thank everyone who supported us enough. It’s time now to turn the page. We can’t wait to play in the World Championship later this week in front of our fans as we try and defend our gold medal.”
The team had threatened to boycott the IIHF World Championships at the end of the month unless they received fair wages and support from the team’s governing body.
On Monday, an emergency meeting of the 92-member board occurred in order to vote on the deal, according to USA Today.
Of issue was the $6,000 salary team members received only during the year leading up to an Olympic Games. The women were not paid in the three years between Winter Games, reported The Washington Post.
Ahead of Monday’s vote, over a dozen U.S. senators – including Elizabeth Warren – signed a letter to USA Hockey’s Executive Director Dave Ogrean, urging the organization to provide “equitable support” to the women’s team.
“While USA Hockey provides its male athletes with a ‘seemingly endless’ supply of hockey equipment, for example, female players are often expected to ‘buy their own,’ ” read the letter. “This ‘inequitable support for equipment, staff, meals, travel expenses, transportation, and publicity’ is apparent at younger levels of the sport as well: while USA Hockey spends $3.5 million to support male youth athletes in its National Team Development Program, there is no parallel development program for women.”
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The women’s team has won gold in six of the past eight world championships.
Of the original boycott, Duggan told ESPNW, “We are asking for a living wage and for USA Hockey to fully support its programs for women and girls and stop treating us like an afterthought. We have represented our country with dignity and deserve to be treated with fairness and respect.”