USWNT threatens 2017 World Championship boycott over equity

Jocelyne Lamoureux Davidson celebrates a goal with her USA teammates during an exhibition game in Grand Forks before the 2014 Sochi Games

Jocelyne Lamoureux Davidson celebrates a goal with her USA teammates during an exhibition game in Grand Forks before the 2014 Sochi Games

The USWNT players are prepared to boycott the upcoming 2017 Women's World Championship in MI if progress is not made in negotiations to pay and treat American female hockey players equally.

"The members of the U.S. Women's National Hockey Team announce that we will not be playing in the 2017 IIHF Women's World Championship...unless significant progress has been made...over fair wages and equitable support", the team announced on March 15.

The women's hockey world championship that's scheduled to start this month at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth could be missing a big thing: the American team.

According to the law-firm statement, the USA women claim they are paid only during the six-month period that precedes the Olympics, and then only $1,000 per month.

"We all want to go play", she said.

The Americans, who are the reigning world champions, were expected to begin training camp in MI on March 21. "We should be able to make a living wage being the top female hockey players in the country and not have to hold second and third jobs".

Ironically, past year around this same time, five U.S. Women's national soccer players took on the U.S. Soccer Federation with a federal complaint calling for an investigation into alleged discriminatory pay practices. "It's well overdue for us to speak up about unfair treatment, even if it means sacrificing an opportunity to represent our country". John Langel, a lawyer for the players, wouldn't reveal monetary figures players were asking for but characterized the negotiating gap between them and USA Hockey as a chasm.

According to Langel, USA Hockey has told lawyers representing US players that Canadian players are paid by the government, not by Hockey Canada.

"We feel like we've been pushed into a corner to have to come to this hard decision as a team", alternate captain Monique Lamoureux-Morando said.

Langel said USA Hockey has been unwilling to address the issue of pay in non-Olympic years.

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. For the rest of the time between Olympics, USA Hockey pays them "virtually nothing", the statement says, "despite its expectation that in each of the non-Olympic years, the players train full time and compete throughout the year, including in the World Championships".

The wage dispute mirrors one in women's soccer. "To gain progress we have to stand up for what is right and what we deserve".

This is obviously a bad look for USA Hockey, but it's also a major development in the world of women's hockey. "We get paid for six months out of a four-year span".

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