USA Women's Hockey Players Threaten Boycott over Wage Dispute

File Getty Images  Bruce Bennett

"We have represented our country with dignity and deserve to be treated with fairness and respect".

Defending champions the United States have threatened to boycott their home World Women's Ice Hockey Championship in Plymouth later this month due to a row over wages.

The Women's World Championship is set to kick off at the end of the month in Plymouth, Michigan, which means without the US team, the tournament loses its hosts and defending champions.

It "requires USA Hockey to provide equitable support and encouragement for participation by women where, as is the case with hockey, separate programs for male and female athletes are conducted on a national basis", according to the firm.

In the past, USA Hockey has provided the players with $1,000 per month during the six-month Olympic residency period. According to the players, they also receive less support than the men's team for equipment, staff, associated expenses and marketing.

The United States National Women's Hockey Team announced Wednesday that it will boycott the 2017 IIHF Women's World Championship unless USA Hockey meets its wage and support demands. "We want to come to an agreement that USA Hockey and ourselves can both be on board with".

Jim Smith, president of USA Hockey said, "In our role as the national governing body, USA Hockey trains and selects teams for worldwide competition".

Ultimately, the lack of money involved leaves even the best women's hockey players in the world with an incredibly burdensome decision. Several players on the team posted the hashtag #BeBoldForChange with a link to the story, and Alex Morgan wrote a message of solidarity on her Twitter account.

The equal pay fight has arrived to hockey.

That means women on the team have to choose between playing for the team and earning a living wage.

"We have a great group of leadership and great player pool".

The decision to boycott the tournament as leverage for equal pay comes in the wake of the us women's national soccer team's failure to receive a court decision that would increase their wages.

USA Hockey said the support they will provide ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics includes a six-month training camp, stipends and incentives for medals that could result in each player receiving almost $85,000. In the statement, officials said they were "disappointed" that the team is boycotting unless their financial needs are met, but that it will also continue to "field a competitive team for the upcoming 2017 IHFWC".

"It's bigger than hockey".

"We've been asking for equitable support for over a year now", said Knight. It's bigger than any one sport or individual.



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