The U.S. Women’s National Team has agreed to terms on a new four-year deal with USA Hockey, effectively ending a boycott by the women’s team that threatened their participation in the upcoming world championships.
“Today reflects everyone coming together and compromising in order to reach a resolution for the betterment of the sport,” USA Hockey president Jim Smith said in a statement. “We’ll now move forward together knowing we’ll look back on this day as one of the most positive in the history of USA Hockey.”
The women’s team instigated its boycott last week, saying that they would not participate until they received a “living wage” for their efforts. USA Hockey approached players from various youth national teams, reportedly all the way down to the U16 level, to replace the boycotting players. No youth players accepted the offer.
“Our sport is the big winner today,” said Meghan Duggan, capitain of the U.S. Women’s National Team. “We stood up for what we thought was right and USA Hockey’s leadership listened. In the end, both sides came together. I’m proud of my teammates and can’t thank everyone who supported us enough. It’s time now to turn the page. We can’t wait to play in the World Championship later this week in front of our fans as we try and defend our gold medal.”
U.S. men’s players showed their support for the women’s team as well, saying they were considering boycotting the men’s wold championships later this spring.
“I’m glad we could come together and reach an arrangement that will have a positive and lasting impact,” said Hilary Knight, veteran forward of the U.S. Women’s National Team. “This is an inspirational time and we’re excited to get back on the ice and represent our country.”
Per the official press release issued by USA Hockey:
The parties agreed to keep financial terms between them. The agreement includes the formation of a Women’s High Performance Advisory Group of former and current players from the U.S. Women’s National Team program, along with volunteer and staff leadership, to meet regularly to assist USA Hockey in efforts to advance girls’ and women’s hockey in all areas, including programming, marketing, promotion and fundraising. That is in addition to the focus on the grassroots hockey areas that volunteers of USA Hockey’s Girls’ and Women’s Section have been involved with for almost 30 years.