US women's hockey team plans to boycott world championship

Miranda GreerMar 29, 2017

As sports organizations and notable hockey figures express support of the US women's team, several players say they rejected overtures from USA Hockey to serve as replacements for the upcoming world championships.

The NHL Players' Association posted a note on its Twitter account on Friday saying it supports the US players while panning USA Hockey's bid to stock the team with replacements.

"We urge you to resolve this dispute quickly to ensure that the USA Women's National Hockey Team receives equitable resources", wrote the senators. US Democrats' liberal firebrand, Senator Elizabeth Warren of MA, was among those who signed a letter saying USA Hockey is required by law to "provide equitable support and encouragement for participation by women where separate programs for male and female athletes are conducted on a national basis".

Monday's emergency board meeting didn't yield a deal that would mark the end of the threatened boycott by the 23 players, and negotiations are expected to continue on Tuesday, two people with knowledge of the content of the meetings who are not authorized to speak publicly told USA TODAY Sports. In the letter, Senators unequivocally backed the players, and said they were "disturbed" by the pay disparity between the male and female teams.

USA Hockey said Thursday its priority was to have all the players selected for the national team on the ice March 31 when the tournament begins.

Among other issues, the women note that USA Hockey expects female players to "train full time and compete throughout the year", yet pays them only $6,000 every four years, an amount that would put them far below the poverty line. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington.

The U.S. has won six of the last seven world championships, including last year's title in Kamloops, B.C., with a 1-0 overtime win over Canada.

Borrowing a page from the USA women's national soccer team playbook, the women's national hockey players have hired Dee Spagnuolo, one of the attorneys who represented the United States women's soccer team in 2000, to leverage their interests, reported SB Nation.

USA Hockey allowed the men's team to have guests, even paying for the guests' transportation costs and allowing guests to stay in player hotel rooms, according to a CNN Money report. They also get up to $2,000 a month from the U.S. Olympic committee year-round.

The 2017 men's world championships, which will be held in France and Germany, are scheduled to begin May 5. As Megan Duggan, team captain, announced last week, the women's team has "represented our country with dignity and deserves to be treated with fairness and respect". He tweeted his support and said he hopes the dispute is resolved.

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