Hockey champions join soccer champions in battle for fair pay

A very public weeks-long contract standoff between the US women's national hockey team and United States of America hockey was resolved tonight, two days before the IIHF World Championships is scheduled to begin in Plymouth, Mich.

Players are set to travel to Plymouth on Wednesday and open the defence of their gold medal Friday against Canada. The team is scheduled to practice Wednesday once everyone arrives for hurried preparations in advance of a tournament that now will be a celebration of USA Hockey instead of a stage for criticism after the dispute drew the attention of several sports unions and US senators.

"I'm proud of my teammates and can't thank everyone who supported us enough", Duggan said. It's time now to turn the page.

US players celebrate their victory after the Women's Ice Hockey Semifinals USA vs Sweden at the Shayba Arena during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 17, 2014.

USA Hockey's board met for several hours Monday night, once again fueling hopes that a deal was near.

In one of the boldest moves in any worldwide competition involving United States athletes, the women threatened to sit out the World Championships scheduled to begin this Friday in Plymouth, Michigan.

More people from inside and outside the hockey world have been voicing their support for the women's team. "No one knew what we were being treated like since we made this stance and brought everything to social media for everyone can see".

We are disturbed by reports from the U.S. Women's National Hockey Team suggesting that USA Hockey is not providing "equitable support" to female athletes. In addition, USA Hockey provides no national developmental program for women, while spending millions to support young male athletes. While USA Hockey deserves credit for finally putting a foot in the right direction, the women should not have had to boycott for equitable treatment in the first place.

The deal includes the formation of a group of former and current players to work towards advancing both girls' and women's hockey in all areas, including programming, marketing, promotion and fundraising.

Players and USA Hockey announced the deal in a joint statement just three days before the tournament begins in Plymouth, Michigan.

The players thought they had a deal last week but USA Hockey's executive committee backed off it and the organization sought to find replacement players for the upcoming championship, adding more fuel to the fire.

Wickenheiser told CTV News Channel that "really, what this (boycott) boils down to is the women's team matters, women's hockey matters". National Hockey League agent Allan Walsh tweeted that men's players were considering boycotting their world championship in solidarity if a deal didn't get done. NCAA Division III, Under-16 girls and adult-league players were sought out after numerous nation's elite players turned down USA Hockey in solidarity to boycotting players.

Beyond wages, the USA women's team indicates that the resources with which U.S.A. Hockey provides them are vastly different from those of the men's team.

Ahead of Monday's vote, over a dozen US 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.

Support grew for the national-team last week, with messages of solidarity from the players' associations for MLB, NBA, NFL and the NHL.

  • Julie Sanders