U.S. Women’s Hockey Team Tweet Statement After Boycotting World Championship Over Wage Dispute
The U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team announced Wednesday that it will sit out the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship, refusing to play in the tournament until its players receive what they consider fair wages and equitable support from the organization.
U.S. Women’s Hockey Boycott World Championship Over Wage Dispute
The World Championship is set to begin March 31 in Plymouth, Michigan, and players were scheduled to arrive at training camp net week. Team USA is the defending champion. The law firm representing the U.S. Women’s team, (who have won the World Championship six times) Ballard Spahr, announced the boycott.
“I don’t know why in 2017 women have to fight for the same support, treatment and wages (as men) within the same organization, but that’s why our team is taking a stand,” captain Meghan Duggan, a two-time Olympian and member of six World Championship teams, told USA TODAY Sports.
Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, stated there will be a U.S. team participating in the World Championships even if the current players boycott.
“We have had that conversation on an ongoing basis for the last couple of weeks, and asking my staff as early as this morning if we have a Plan B and I was given a succinct, positive one-word answer: Yes,” Ogrean said.
— USA Hockey (@usahockey) March 15, 2017
According to John Langel, one of the lawyers representing the team, the players are seeking a four-year contract. The women’s team have never had a collective bargaining agreement with USA Hockey.
Asked if there is a way to avoid the boycott, Langel simply said, “We have invited (USA Hockey) to continue discussions.”
Langel added that players have contracts with USA Hockey individually and receive $1,000 per month for six months before the Winter Olympics and receive no other compensation from the organization. The U.S. Olympic Committee pays member of the women’s national team a stipend to represent the country at the World Championship and a bonus based on Olympic success.
“In our role as the national governing body, USA Hockey trains and selects teams for international competition,” said Jim Smith, president of USA Hockey. “USA Hockey’s role is not to employ athletes and we will not do so. USA Hockey will continue to provide world-leading support for our athletes.”
According to its news release, USA Hockey said it would offer “additional support stipends and incentives for medals” that could increase a player’s income to almost $85,000 during the six-month Olympic training and performance period. That sum would be in addition to “housing allowance, travel allowances, meal expenses, medical and disability insurance.”
Members of the U.S. women’s team, meanwhile, sent out the following tweet on Thursday:
“To our loyal fans,
We are so thankful for the outpouring of support from across the country and around the world. We recognize that many of you have already purchased tickets to the upcoming World Championship, and we remain hopeful that an agreement can be reached so that we can return to the ice as soon as possible. Please know that in our negotiations for equitable support, we are standing up for the next generation, especially the young girls who deserve access to equal opportunities. Again, we are extremely hopeful that we will be in Plymouth, Michigan at the end of the month to defend our titles as world champions.
The US Women’s National Team”
The World Championship will not affect the U.S.’s qualification for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. The U.S. is ranked No. 1 by the IIHF, and remains one of the strongest hockey countries along with Canada.