The United States women’s hockey team announced on Wednesday morning that they will not participate in the 2017 World Championships due to a dispute with USA Hockey over fair wages.
Negotiations between players and the American program have reportedly been ongoing for about a year, but have stalled recently. Barring any sudden and significant progress in those negotiations this month, the USA won’t be represented at a tournament which they are hosting. (This year’s Worlds is being played in Michigan.)
Members of the women’s team tweeted out uniform statements on Wednesday announcing the boycott and calling for more support.
“Out of a four-year cycle, USA Hockey pays for only six months out of an entire four years. They pay us $1,000 per month in those six months. So, for the other 42 months we don’t get paid at all by USA Hockey,” says Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, a two-time Olympic silver medalist. “It is a full-time job and to not get paid is a financial burden and stress on the players, obviously. That is the conversation my husband and I are having right now. Is playing going to be more stress than we can handle? Sadly it becomes a decision between chasing your dream or giving in to the reality of the financial burden.”
This is obviously a bad look for USA Hockey, but it’s also a major development in the world of women’s hockey. The United States has won gold at each of the last three World Championships and has been in the gold medal game every year since the tournament’s inaugural competition in 1990.
The World Championships will get underway March 31 in Plymouth Township, Michigan.