Team USA threatens to skip women’s hockey worlds in Michigan – Detroit Free Press
The U.S. women’s national hockey team will skip the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship.
USA TODAY Sports
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.
The U.S. women’s national hockey team is threatening to boycott the event unless “significant progress has been made on the year-long negotiations with USA Hockey over fair wages and equitable support.”
The tournament will be held at USA Hockey Arena on March 31-April 7. The U.S. is the three-time defending world champion.
The players are seeking a contract with USA Hockey that they say “includes appropriate compensation.” The players have had contracts only in Olympic years and are seeking a deal that covers the rest. According to the statement released by a law firm representing players, USA Hockey has paid players $1,000 a month during their six-month Olympic residency period and “virtually nothing” the rest of the time.
USA Hockey released a statement this afternoon: “We acknowledge the players’ concerns and have proactively increased our level of direct support to the Women’s National Team as we prepare for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games,” executive director Dave Ogrean said. “We have communicated that increased level of support to the players’ representatives and look forward to continuing our discussions.”
USA Hockey also said it plans to continue dialogue with the team. But it also could field a replacement team for the event.
“In our role as the national governing body, USA Hockey trains and selects teams for international competition,” USA Hockey president Jim Smith said in the release. “USA Hockey’s role is not to employ athletes, and we will not do so. USA Hockey will continue to provide world-leading support for our athletes.”
The U.S. team was to prepare for the tournament by training at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City on March 22-28. They were to arrive in Plymouth on the 29th and kick off the tournament March 31, against Canada.
Centre Ice office manager Todd Spaulding told the Free Press today the U.S. team had been in contact with the arena as recently as Tuesday to schedule off-ice events with local youth hockey programs.
Spaulding said the team never mentioned a boycott, nor has it reached out to the arena since the announcement.
“As of yesterday, we’ve been on the phone with them, and this (the boycott) has all been news to us this morning,” Spaulding said. “We’d love to have them, and we have everything ready for them to come here and practice. If they don’t come, they don’t come. But we’d certainly love to have them here.”
The wage dispute follows one by U.S. women’s soccer players, who filed a complaint last March with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that alleged wage discrimination by the U.S. Soccer Federation.
The Associated Press contributed.