U.S. women's hockey team pushes for deal on pay equity

NHLPA releases statement in support of USA Women's National Team

NHLPA releases statement in support of USA Women's National Team

On the eve of a decisive conference call by the voting members of the USA Hockey board of directors, the US women's team urged them to uphold the terms of a working agreement the two sides thought they had reached in face-to-face talks last Monday in Philadelphia.

The ongoing battle between the US Women's National Team and USA Hockey, the national governing body for the sport, has been fought largely on social media. Hockey in the United States is a small community.

"We urge you to resolve this dispute quickly to ensure that the USA Women's National Hockey Team receives equitable resources", the senators, led by Sen. They said the agreement has the "potential to be a game changer for everyone". Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), wrote in the letter addressed to USA Hockey Executive Director Dave Ogrean. Neither can be certain of how the decision will go. The men's IIHF world championships don't start until May 5 (they'll be held in Cologne, Germany and Paris, France, and will run through May 21), and they are often overshadowed by the NHL playoffs (at least in North America), but they are a significant event for USA Hockey.

Currently, the players receive $6,000 apiece from USA Hockey in support every four years.

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How can one argue so certainly that investing in the women's national program would be a bad idea when nobody has done it before?

In a statement Sunday night, players said they hoped USA Hockey would approve terms discussed during a meeting last week. Many have used the hashtag #BeBoldForChange. It's gotten so desperate that USA Hockey has reportedly reached out to under-16 players (!) in an attempt to get around the national team boycott.

Veteran U.S. players such as Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight and Amanda Kessel announced the planned boycott earlier this month. It has never failed to medal at the Olympic Games since women's hockey was introduced in 1998.

Since NHL players make millions, there's no need for USA Hockey to kick in more money.

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"We're being put in a situation where we're not being heard and not being listened to", Monique Lamoureux-Morando said, who is now a member of the players' negotiating team. Both sides emerged from the 10-plus hours of talks characterizing the meeting as "productive" and "positive".

A spokesman for the athletes said they had no comment as of midday. We'll see if they wind up giving in or if they manage to field a replacement team.

USA Hockey and its female players have been at odds for more than a year over issues that include compensation, funding for staffing and junior development.

But the dispute is far more than just a numbers game. Whether the full board feels the same way will be determined in Monday's vote.

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