Published: Thu, March 16, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

US Women's Hockey Players Threaten Boycott for Fair Wages

Members of the U.S. Women's National Hockey Team announced Wednesday that they will not play in this month's International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship tournament, thanks to a lack of progress in their efforts to secure fair wages and benefits from USA Hockey, the sport's American governing body. "We have represented our country with dignity and deserve to be treated with fairness and respect".

A group of veterans on the team-Duggan, Kacey Bellamy, Brianna Decker, Hilary Knight, Kendall Coyne, Lamoureux-Mordando and her twin sister Jocelyne-got the ball rolling on the demands for USA Hockey, and the decision to boycott, if necessary.

A contingent of the top USA women's hockey players announced Wednesday they will boycott the upcoming world championships unless national officials boost financial support for their program.

In a statement released Wednesday morning, the team said negotiations over fair wages and support with USA Hockey had stalled for over a year, leading them to take this drastic move.

As an example, the women claim USA Hockey spends approximately $3.5 million to support its boys' National Team Development Program but does not conduct a comparable program for girls.

In essence, the women's team has pushed for pay equality for over 17 years.

USA women's hockey captain Meghan Duggan didn't rule out the possibility that the players would agree to participate if their concerns are addressed, saying, "We want this to get resolved".

When the 2017 IIHF Women's World Championship kicks off in Plymouth, Michigan on March 31, the host country will not be there. USA Hockey has a responsibility to the grow the game of hockey, not just for men, but for women as well, and that's something that they've sorely neglected.

Lamoureux-Davidson said players are hopeful that taking a stand will force the issue.

But as one Twitter user pointed out, the issue isn't simply a desire for equal wages.

The majority of the players' current pay, they said, comes from the U.S. Olympic Committee, with USA Hockey providing a small, $1,000-per-month stipend over a six-month Olympic training period. We owe the next generation more than that.

The women's soccer team refused to play a friendly in Hawaii in December 2015 because of poor turf conditions, and last March, five of the team's best players accused U.S. Soccer of wage discrimination and brought the organization to court. "We get paid for six months out of a four-year span". They remain hopeful to be able to compete later this month, as the US has taken gold in six of the last eight world championships.

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