U.S. Women's Hockey Team Threatens World Championship Boycott Amid Wage Fight
Players on the U.S. women's national hockey team have informed USA Hockey that they will "boycott the IIHF Women's World Championship later this month if adequate progress is not made in their negotiations for better wages and support," according to Brad Schlossman of the GRAND FORKS HERALD. The players "all tweeted their intentions simultaneously" this morning. This comes after the players said that they have been "attempting to negotiate a contract with USA Hockey for more than a year with no significant progress." The Women's World Championship begins March 31 in Plymouth, Mich. The Americans have won gold in six of the last seven Women's World Championships. The players are being represented pro bono by Philadelphia-based lawyers John Langel and Dee Spagnuolo of Ballard Spahr. Langel represented U.S. women's soccer players for "more than a decade." The players said that USA Hockey pays the team $1,000 a month for six months during the Olympic centralization period, but "almost nothing for the other three-and-a-half years of a four-year Olympic cycle" (GRANDFORKSHERALD.com, 3/15). ESPNW.com's Julie Foudy notes even though it is USA Hockey's "legal obligation as the governing body to develop opportunities for both boys and girls," it spends more than $3.5M per year to support boys participating in its national team development program. That $3.5M goes to "support a schedule of more than 60 games a season for teenage boys, with no comparable development opportunities for girls." Foudy writes the "utterly incomprehensible thing is how this behavior and clear discrimination by USA Hockey has been allowed to carry on for so long." As with soccer, there "comes a time when the fight is no longer about what you endure but more about what the next generation should not have to endure" (ESPNW.com, 3/15).