USA Hockey dispute with women players escalates ahead of world championships
Women ice hockey players in USA are disputing the way their wage demands are being characterised by USA Hockey, the national governing body for the sport, in a 14-month dispute ahead of the country’s hosting of the world championships, which they are threatening to boycott unless significant progress is made towards a new contract.
USA Hockey estimated that players received $237,000 for winning gold medals at the Olympic Games and $149,000 per player in non-Olympic years, but the players said that the estimates failed to distinguish between money paid by USA Hockey and by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson told AP: “We don't know where some of those numbers came from. We're very aware and clear of what we've asked for... They throw out these pretty big numbers, which we read those and we go, ‘Really, we asked for that?’”
The players say they are paid $1,000 a month for the six months leading up to the games and nothing for the other three and a half years. Star forward Hilary Knight said: “We've been in negotiations with them for 14 months, and our stance doesn't change. It's 2017 and the treatment that we’ve had has gone on too long and finally we’re a group that's empowered enough to make a stance and fight for what’s right, and that’s equitable support across the board.”
The world championships begin on 31 March in Plymouth, Michigan. USA are defending champion, having won six of the past eight gold medals at the championships. However, Canada have won the gold medals at the last four winter Olympic Games. Knight said: “It's frustrating because we need the support. There's a reason why we haven’t won an [Olympic] gold medal in 20 years. They need to step up. Who does USA Hockey aspire to be?”