USA Hockey Reaches a Deal With Women’s National Team

(From left) US Kandall Coyne, Brianna Decker, Hilary Knight and Emily Pfalzer celebrate Brianna Decker's 1-1 goal during the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship semifinal match between USA and Russia at Malmo Isstadion in Malmo, southern Sweden, on April 3, 2015. AFP PHOTO / TT NEWS AGENCY / CLAUDIO BRESCIANI +++ SWEDEN OUT (Photo credit should read Claudio Bresciani/AFP/Getty Images)

The US Women’s National Team has reached an agreement with USA Hockey, as of Tuesday evening. The deal was reached after weeks of tension and a threatened boycott of the World Championships by the USWNT.

Women’s USA Hockey Deal Reached

The issues leading to the boycott went farther than just payment. Players cited inequality in promotion, representation, and resources. Things such as unequal lodgings, and the inability to use the same facilities (one such example being the fact that the tournament was not being played in Joe Louis Arena, but instead in the Detroit suburbs). The team received support from the players unions of the NHL, NWHL, NBA, NFL, and MLB, along with a group of 17 US Senators who released an official letter on the women’s behalf.

The agreement guarantees payment of around $70,000 per player annually, in addition to performance bonuses and the potential to increase their payout for wins at the Olympics or World Championships. Monthly stipends, which used to start at $750 for inexperienced players, is now raised to the $2000 maximum for all players, regardless of their experience level, to be paid in combination by the US Olympic Committee and USA Hockey.

There are also terms that make travel stipends and insurance coverage equal for both the men’s and women’s teams (previously, women were not insured and only received $15 travel money per day, in contrast to the men’s $50).

According to USA Hockey’s statement, “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.” This will build on the efforts of USA hockey to promote hockey among women and girls over the past 30 years.

Players responded to the deal, sharing a video on their twitter accounts.

Hilary Knight, who represented the US at the international level several times, commented to USA Hockey that “This is an inspirational time and we’re excited to get back on the ice and represent our country.”

The 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship begins Friday, March 31st at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan.

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