By AJ Perez – USA Today
USA Hockey and players for the U.S. women’s national team agreed Tuesday to a tentative four-year deal to avert a boycott of the IIHF Women’s World Championship, a person with knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports Tuesday.
The person requested anonymity because the deal has not been finalized. The players were expected to vote around noon ET on the agreement. The financial terms of the deal were not immediately known.
If the players approve the deal, it would end their year-plus efforts to secure higher wages and other support from USA Hockey. The 23 players on the national team drew international attention when they announced March 15 they intended to forgo the World Championship.
Team USA’s first game of the tournament is against Canada on Friday.
Messages left with USA Hockey were not immediately returned. USA Hockey spokesperson Dave Fischer declined comment.
The players said in a statement earlier this month they were seeking a livable wage, although they strongly disputed the numbers put out by USA Hockey that they had asked for $237,000 each in an Olympic year and $149,000 in a non-Olympic year.
USA TODAY Sports reported Sunday that the board was scheduled to consider the same proposal that players and USA Hockey had tentatively agreed to after they met on March 20 in Philadelphia.
The holdout by the women’s team quickly turned into a referendum on equality. The players hit social media hard once they announced the boycott, using the hashtag “#BeBoldForChange.”
Sixteen Democratic senators released a letter Monday written to USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean.
“We urge you to resolve this dispute quickly to ensure that the USA Women’s National Hockey Team receives equitable resources,” the senators wrote. “These elite athletes indeed deserve fairness and respect, and we hope you will be a leader on this issue as women continue to push for equality in athletics.”
USA Hockey announced on Thursday that it would seek out replacement players, although dozens of would-be players turned down the offer to don red, white and blue. NCAA Division III, Under-16 girls and adult-league players were sought out after many of the nation’s elite players turned down USA Hockey in solidarity to boycotting players.
While the men’s team players don’t make any more than the women, the men do get upgraded flight and hotel accommodations. And, if you’re a member of the men’s U.S. Olympic teams since 1998, you’d be making more than a livable wage, since the teams have been comprised of millionaire NHL players.