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Published: Thu, March 16, 2017
Sport | By Desiree Waters

Women's national hockey team to sit out world championships

Women's national hockey team to sit out world championships

The U.S. women's hockey team stunned the sports world on Wednesday when it announced it would not be playing in the upcoming IIHF World Championship due to stalled negotiations with USA Hockey regarding fair wages and support. "We have represented our country with dignity and deserve to be treated with fairness and respect". There's no such program for girls, and the Women's National Team only plays in 9 games a year when there isn't Olympic competition, even though they've asked for more games to be put on the schedule.

The U.S. women's national soccer team has spent the past year waging a public battle with the U.S. Soccer Federation over equal pay and fair wages.

According to The Huffington Post, members of the team announced its boycott Wednesday, after failed attempts to reach an agreement with USA Hockey, American hockey's governing body.

The players, who have never had a collective bargaining with USA Hockey, are seeking a four-year contract, John Langel, one of the lawyers representing the players, told USA TODAY Sports.

According the release, USA Hockey spends about $3.5 million to support boys who are participating in the National Team Development Program.

The equal pay fight has arrived to hockey.

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Players do get paid by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

A potential boycott by more than 20 elite players could be especially embarrassing to USA Hockey given that the world championships are scheduled for later this month in Plymouth, Mich. "Sadly it becomes a decision between chasing your dream or giving in to the reality of the financial burden". Lamoureux-Davidson said players recently received a bonus payment for its December series against Canada.

In the words of captain Megan Duggan, the women want the organization that runs hockey in the country to "stop treating us like an afterthought". We owe the next generation more than that. 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". 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.

It's not the first time a US women's team has raised the issue of unequal treatment.

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

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