U.S. women and USA Hockey reach tentative four-year deal

After more than a year of negotiations over wages and equitable support, players announced March 15 that they'd boycott the International Ice Hockey Federation Women's World Championship on home ice if significant progress wasn't made toward an agreement.

"Today reflects everyone coming together and compromising in order to reach a resolution for the betterment of the sport", said Jim Smith, president of USA Hockey.

USA women's national hockey team captain Meghan Duggan, seen playing in the 2014 Olympics, says her teammates have won a better pay deal, averting a boycott of the world championships.

The U.S. will open defense of its championship with a game against Canada, scheduled for 7:30pm on Friday, March 31.

USA Hockey will send a full complement of talent to the IIHF Women's World Championship after settling a contract dispute with top players two days before the tournament begins.

We're thankful for your support in every way. Its time now to turn the page.

Sports' A.J. Perez explains why the United States of America women's hockey team is boycotting the upcoming International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship. But USA Hockey doesn't treat them that way. These seem like reasonable demands, but U.S. Hockey and their $440,000-a-year executive director Dave Ogrean have opted to hire scabs and field a "replacement team" for the World Championships. The owners have no interest in going, but that particular stance is at cross-purposes with the players, many of whom have been indoctrinated into a culture that includes Olympic hockey participation.

Got word now that US hockey reached out to a player on a U16 (!) team to play in World Championships.

The women's team can focus less on finding ways to generate second or third incomes, and more on turning their energy completely toward worldwide hockey success and building the game here in the United States. On Sunday it was reported that the US men's team would refuse to participate in the worlds if USA Hockey went through with fielding a replacement team. NHL players and coaches, as well as the NHL Players' Association, and player unions from the NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS and professional sports leagues around the world voiced their support for their stand for equality.

Or, as hockey captain Meghan Duggan put it, "stop treating us like an afterthought".

Many players had complained during the 14-month dispute that they were paid only $1,000 (£800) a month during a six-month Olympic period and nothing for the remaining three-and-a half years.

That American men standouts like Patrick Kane or Ryan Suter got to travel business class to global tournaments while women like Brianna Decker and Megan Bozek traveled in coach says a lot about the inequality in the organization before this agreement. It could be a banner year for the women's national team if successful at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

BSU head coach Jim Scanlan said USA Hockey's offer put the potential replacement players in a hard position. The sides met for 10-plus hours in person last week and continued conversations before striking a deal Tuesday. Hockey Canada has had this form of committee for a while now, and it allows the women to have a seat at the table with USA Hockey to negotiate contracts, support of the women's game, and any other issues of concern that the players may wish to voice in an official capacity. Hopefully U.S.A. Hockey pays attention and provides the women's team with the equitable treatment they so rightfully deserve.

The tournament begins Friday with the U.S. taking on Canada in a round-robin game at 7:30 p.m. on NHL Network.

  • Larry Hoffman