USA women's hockey players threaten boycott over wages

Hilary Knight read a text message from a former USA women's hockey player praising the team for not playing in the world championships over a wage dispute.

After players threatened Wednesday, March 15, 2017, to boycott the upcoming world hockey championships over a wage dispute, USA Hockey said it will “field a competitive team” for the International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Hockey Championship that begins March 31 in in Plymouth, Mich.

"In our role as the national governing body, USA Hockey trains and selects teams for global competition", said USA Hockey President Jim Smith. Players have said they won't attend training camp next Wednesday or play in the tournament unless there are clear steps toward a four-year contract.

The current members of the women's national team are the defending champs.

According to the team this is about more than money: it's about equal treatment.

FILE - In this February 17, 2014, file photo, Meghan Duggan of the United States looks up during a face off during the second period of the 2014 Winter Olympics women's semifinal ice hockey game against Sweden at Shayba Arena in Sochi, Russia. As a matter of fact, USA Hockey has grown participation in girl's and women's hockey from just more than 23,000 players in 1998 to more than 73,000 today.

The powerhouse US women's program has been plunged into chaos less than a week until the scheduled start of training camp and just over two weeks from defending its world championship gold medal on home ice in Plymouth, Michigan.

The players are seeking a contract with USA Hockey that they say "includes appropriate compensation".

Several players said USA Hockey pays players $1,000 per month during their six-month Olympic residency period.

The players are asking for higher wages - pointing out that in the past, USA Hockey paid them $1,000 a month for six months every Olympic cycle, and "virtually nothing" for the other 3 1/2 years.

USA Hockey said it is committed to growing womens hockey and that more than 73,000 women play hockey in the US now compared with 23,000 in 1998, when the Americans won gold at the first Olympics with a womens tournament.

The national team immediately issued a statement disputing USA Hockey's figures. He characterized the negotiating gap with USA Hockey as a chasm.

"We're unanimously united as a player pool", standout Hilary Knight said.

The team have been in a public war of words with USA Hockey, labelling its statement about an increased support offer as "completely misleading and dishonest". Those men's under-17 and under-18 teams play 60 games a season compared to just nine for the women's national team in a non-Olympic year.

- Alex Morgan (@alexmorgan13) March 15, 2017It's pretty unbelievable to watch USA Women's Soccer support the USA Women's Hockey team in their fight for fair wages.

USA Hockey President Jim Smith said: "USA Hockey's role is not to employ athletes and we will not do so". Now the USWNT is risking everything they've worked for as little girls for those same little girls who look up to them now. I kind of dare them. “But its been 14 months and we havent seen progress, so if theres progress within the next week and a half, well see.”.

The wage dispute follows one by U.S. womens soccer players, who last March filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that alleged wage discrimination by the U.S. Soccer Federation.

“It says a lot for what theyre fighting for, ” Granato said.

But the champions say are boycotting in an ongoing dispute about equitable support with the men's sport.

Lastly, it does nothing to address the marketing and training support that is not on par with what it provides to the mens' and boys' teams. "This takes a lot of courage".

  • Julie Sanders