The U.S. women's national hockey team announced Wednesday that it would not report to the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship this year, citing an ongoing wage dispute with USA Hockey. The women were supposed to report to Plymouth, Michigan, on March 21 for competition set to begin later this month.
"We are asking for a living wage and for USA Hockey to fully support its programs for women and girls and stop treating us like an afterthought," team captain Meghan Duggan said. The women have been engaged in negotiations with USA Hockey that they say have made insufficient progress, as the players seek contracts in all years, not only ones in which Olympics take place. A law firm representing the women's team said USA Hockey typically pays each player $1,000 per month for the six months of an Olympic residency — but pays "virtually nothing" during the rest of the four years in between Games, espnW reported, "despite its expectation that in each of the non-Olympic years, the players train full-time and compete throughout the year."
One player said the national team is a "full-time job" and that sometimes participation "becomes a decision between chasing your dream or giving into the reality of the financial burden." A spokesman for USA Hockey did not respond to requests for comment from multiple outlets, though SB Nation notes USA Hockey could be fined $15,000 by the IIHF for withdrawing from the event. Read the full statement from the U.S. women's team below. Kimberly Alters