Why the United States' best women's hockey players are threatening to strike


USA Hockey said Wednesday it expects to field a competitive team at the World Championships, regardless of the status of any boycott - the tournament is being hosted at the aforementioned facility in MI.

As Christine Brennan of USA Today noted, USA Hockey pays the players only in the six months leading up to the Olympics - a total of $6,000, while The New York Times reported in November that salaries in the National Women's Hockey League range from $10,000 to $26,000. But the players said it is full of "patently false" information.

The American women made it known they would boycott the upcoming IIHF world championship - to be hosted on US soil in Plymouth, Michigan at the end of this month - if USA Hockey, national governing body for the sport, did not improve the financial package they receive for participating in the program. The players were scheduled to report to Plymouth, Michigan, on March 21 for pre-tournament training.

The back-and-forth began, with players going on the offense talking to media from various outlets, going on television and radio, with USA Hockey publishing a number of press releases refuting player claims, citing years of support and including US Olympic Committee financial support with their own.

USA Hockey's reaction was to indicate that it would not cave to player demands, but instead would look to ice a team of replacement players from within the women's development pipeline -- scabs, as some might refer to them.

Since the team announced its boycott on Wednesday, there have been a lot of facts and figures and unique math used to figure out what the members of the women's team can make. For example, USA Hockey spends $3.5 million per year to support a 60-game schedule for its boys youth developmental team; there is nothing comparable for young girls. "Who does USA Hockey aspire to be?"

Soccer offers lucrative global competitions in non-Olympic years, and U.S. Soccer for years has paid both its men's and women's national team members (albeit paying the men more).

John Langel, the lawyer representing the players, did not have an immediate comment. They also said that in a non-Olympic year their camps and competitions are voluntary.

Two-time Olympian Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson told USA TODAY Sports that none of the 23 players on the roster came off their vow to skip the world championships as they seek better wages and other support from USA Hockey. And they want $210,000 to $237,000 for a top-two finish at the Olympics. "[The players] can't use that money to eat and they can't use that money to pay their rent", Spagnuolo said. The women's players have pointed out the USOC gives bonuses to medal winners in all sports, not just to them, but unlike some federations, USA Hockey has never supplemented those bonuses for their medal wins.

Cammi Granato, one of the first women in the Hockey Hall of Fame after being inducted in 2010, dealt with wage disputes during her career and appreciates current players taking such a hard stand.

That means women on the team have to choose between playing for the team and earning a living wage.

There is even more to this statement here.

On the ice, the USA women have established themselves as one of the two best teams in the world. The US men's team is comprised of highly paid National Hockey League players, as are most established national teams.

"It's an example of them kind of disregarding anything that we're asking and basically disregarding our request to be under contract for a four-year period and any of that", Duggan said, adding that players are also asking for insurance and travel expenses they don't feel are provided on an equal level as men's players. It's so much bigger than hockey.