USA Hockey reaches agreement with women's players, avoids boycott

The world championship for women's hockey is just days away, and USA Hockey could have another boycott on its hands.

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.

"Our sport is the big victor today", Meghan Duggan, captain of the women's national team, said in a statement.

USA Hockey is based in Colorado Springs and is responsible for selecting and training teams for worldwide competition. "I think it's all around an incredible deal and an incredible day and moment".

The US is the defending champion at the International Ice Hockey Women's World Championship, which begins Friday in Plymouth, Mich.

The boycotting players and US hockey reached a deal just days before the tournament begins in Plymouth, Michigan, ensuring they'll be on the ice - and paid for their efforts.

USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean acknowledged as much to on Tuesday.

"We are asking for a living wage and for USA Hockey to fully support its programs for women and girls and stop treating us like an afterthought", Duggan said in a press release on March 15. The women's players have also pointed out that when they fly to global competitions, they fly in coach while the men get to fly business class.

It is incredibly refreshing to see so many prominent entities come together to try to achieve gender equality. The women's national soccer team filed a federal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission past year alleging wage discrimination by U.S. Soccer. "We're hopeful for them and for us that we'll get the change that is long overdue".

United States of America hockey president said: "Today reflects everyone coming together and compromising in order to reach a resolution for the betterment of the sport".

- USA Hockey finalized an agreement Tuesday with the U.S. Women's National Team that would give players additional support between Olympic years and help them grow the women's game, ending the team's boycott of the upcoming World Championships. It was a hard decision, she said, but one made easier when she talked to her coaches and friends around the hockey world, like Anderson.

"That was a reality from Day One", Duggan said. "It's time for equitable support and to make history together".

There aren't a lot of women's hockey players available to replace the boycotting players - the reason USA Hockey is digging so deep. 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.

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

The two sides agreed to form a group to "advance girls' and women's hockey in all areas, including programming marketing, promotion and financing", according to USA Hockey. "That's going to be a big part in just growing the game still". Maybe we all need to stop comparing women's athletics to men's - especially when the opportunities and support are so different.

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  • Julie Sanders