US women’s hockey team strike ‘historic’ pay deal and agree to end boycott

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Players and federation announce agreement on pay and conditions, meaning team will play in world championships, which begin on Friday in Michigan

USA Hockey and the womens national team reached a wage agreement Tuesday night to avoid a boycott of the world championships.

Players and USA Hockey announced the deal in a joint statement just three days before the tournament begins in Plymouth, Michigan. Its a four-year agreement that pays players outside of the six-month Olympic period.

Its historic, its new and different, and the players are happy, said John Langel, the players lawyer.

Team captain Meghan Duggan said: Our sport is the big winner today. We stood up for what we thought was right and USA Hockeys leadership listened. In the end, both sides came together. Im proud of my teammates and cant thank everyone who supported us enough. Its time now to turn the page. We cant wait to play in the World Championship later this week in front of our fans as we try and defend our gold medal.

After more than a year of negotiations over wages and equitable support, players announced March 15 that theyd boycott the International Ice Hockey Federation Womens World Championship on home ice if significant progress wasnt made toward an agreement. The sides met for 10-plus hours in person last week and continued conversations before striking a deal Tuesday.

USA hockey president said: Today reflects everyone coming together and compromising in order to reach a resolution for the betterment of the sport. Well now move forward together knowing well look back on this day as one of the most positive in the history of USA Hockey.

Over the course of the public dispute, unions from the NHL, NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball and 16 US senators voiced support for the players. NHL agent Allan Walsh tweeted that mens players were considering boycotting their world championship in solidarity if a deal didnt get done.

It took until almost the last minute, but a deal did get done that includes the formation of a womens high performance advisory group with current and former players like Hockey Canada has had for some time. The groups goal is to advance girls and womens hockey programing, marketing, promotion and fundraising to augment existing grassroots programs.

Players are set to travel to Plymouth on Wednesday and open the defense of their gold medal Friday against Canada. The US has won six of the past eight world championships.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/28/us-womens-hockey-team-end-boycott-world-championships