USA TODAY Sports’ A.J. Perez explains why the USA women’s hockey team is boycotting the upcoming International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship.
USA TODAY Sports
An agreement between USA Hockey and the members of the U.S. women’s national hockey team wasn’t ratified on Monday, although there remains some hope a deal could be worked out before the IIHF Women’s World Championships begin later this week.
Monday’s emergency board meeting didn’t yield a deal that would mark the end of the threatened boycott by the 23 players, and negotiations are expected to continue on Tuesday, two people with knowledge of the content of the meetings who are not authorized to speak publicly told USA TODAY Sports.
About 70 of the 90 members of USA Hockey’s board of directors took part in the meeting held via teleconference, which lasted more than three hours.
The players announced on March 15 that they intended to skip the world championships after more than a year of negotiations failed to produce an agreement. The U.S. is scheduled to open the world championship in Plymouth, Mich., against Canada on Friday.
Messages left with USA Hockey were not immediately returned on Monday night.
The players said in a statement earlier this month they were seeking a livable wage, although they strongly disputed the numbers put out by USA Hockey that they had asked for $237,000 each in an Olympic year and $149,000 in a non-Olympic year.
USA TODAY Sports reported Sunday that the board was scheduled to consider the same proposal that players and USA Hockey had tentatively agreed to after they met on March 20 in Philadelphia.
The holdout by the women’s team quickly turned into a referendum on equality. The players hit social media hard once they announced the boycott, using the hashtag “#BeBoldForChange.”
Sixteen Democratic senators released a letter Monday written to USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean.
“We urge you to resolve this dispute quickly to ensure that the USA Women’s National Hockey Team receives equitable resources,” the senators wrote. “These elite athletes indeed deserve fairness and respect, and we hope you will be a leader on this issue as women continue to push for equality in athletics.”
USA Hockey announced on Thursday that it would seek out replacement players, although dozens of would-be players turned down the offer to don red, white and blue. NCAA Division III, Under-16 girls and adult-league players were sought out after many of the nation’s elite players turned down USA Hockey in solidarity to boycotting players.
While the men’s team players don’t make any more than the women, the men do get upgraded flight and hotel accommodations. And, if you’re a member of the men’s U.S. Olympic teams since 1998, you’d be making more than a livable wage, since the teams have been comprised of millionaire NHL players.