United States women's hockey team averts boycott

USA Hockey and the U.S. Women's National Team announced Tuesday that they have settled their ongoing wage dispute and have reached an agreement, avoiding a possible women's boycott of the upcoming Women's World Championship.

"It's bigger than sports and if we can utilize the platform we have to make significant changes beyond this team, I think we have accomplished something great here", she went on to say. Elizabeth Warren, wrote a letter in support of the US women's team and called on USA Hockey to come to an equitable agreement.

Players are seeking a four-year contract that includes payments outside the six-month Olympic period.

The U.S. women's hockey team's threatened boycott resulted in an deal with USA Hockey.

The 23-player roster of the U.S. Women's team said March 15 that it would boycott the world championship in Plymouth, Mich., unless progress was made over "fair wages and equitable support" in negotiations that began previous year. 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.

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

USA Hockey's 15-member executive committee also has the authority "to amend, alter or repeal rules and regulations only in the case of an emergency when a vote of the board of directors can not reasonably be obtained".

It was announced Tuesday evening by USA Hockey that a deal finally was struck that will allow the Women's Worlds defending champion Americans play 7:30 p.m. Friday against Canada. They want USA Hockey to pay for them to bring a guest to big tournaments like they do for the men.

One of the frustrations that built up to the boiling point that became this boycott was the perception among numerous women players that USA Hockey didn't do an effective job marketing and promoting their sport. Its time now to turn the page. There is little to no development for female hockey players in the United States, while USA Hockey pours $3.5 million a year into the USA Hockey National Team Development Program (USNTDP), a team of high school boys.

Over the course of the public dispute, unions from the NHL, NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball and 16 US senators voiced support for the players.

Replacing the players who are boycotting won't fix USA Hockey's problem. "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'".

Wickenheiser said that although the Canadian women's relationship with Hockey Canada "was never ideal", the organization at least made efforts to improve the conditions for players after each Olympics. "We stood up for what was right and USA Hockey's leadership listened". 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.

"The pride in this invitation in this scenario is in the refusal, it's not about putting the team US jersey on, the pride in it is saying no I'm not going to go play", said Lamoureux-Davidson.

USA Hockey is based in Colorado Springs and is responsible for selecting and training teams for worldwide competition.

Also set to breathe again are USA Hockey officials who have felt increasing heat in the last week or so about the boycott. Canada has won the other 10 titles.

  • Julie Sanders