Why US Women May Ditch Hockey World Championships

Ladies say they want a living wage to keep up with the guys
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2017 7:37 AM CDT
US Women's Hockey: Progress in Pay or No Championship Play
In this Feb. 17, 2014, file photo, Meghan Duggan of the United States looks up during a faceoff during the second period of the 2014 Winter Olympics women's semifinal ice hockey game against Sweden in Sochi, Russia.   (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

Meghan Duggan isn't even 30 and she's already won six world championships with the US women's hockey team—and yet she says her team can't get living-wage paychecks that would put them on par with male colleagues. "That's why our team is taking a stand," she tells USA Today. That stand: not showing for the IIHF's World Championships, starting in Michigan on March 31. The players' issues spur from the fact they've been trying to nail down a four-year contract with USA Hockey for over a year, to no avail. Currently, players have individual contracts with the hockey group that offer them $1,000 per month during the half-year training period leading up to the Olympics. The women also receive a stipend from the US Olympic Committee when they go to the World Championships, as well as paid-for expenses during the Olympics and a bonus depending on how they medal.

But the women say they need enough to cover them during non-Olympic years, as they don't have an NHL paycheck to fall back on like the guys—and since they're still expected to train full time and compete during those years, ESPN notes. USA Hockey President Jim Smith says the group is there to support the players, not employ them. The organization says other "incentives" could bring a player's salary close to $85,000 during an Olympic year, but the women argue that's only if they win gold and that the lion's share of the money comes from the US Olympic Committee. The New York Times says other than a boycott or waiting it out, the women's only other recourse may be an EEOC complaint. USA Hockey Executive Director Dave Ogrean tells USA Today the group will find other players to compete in the championships if the women pull out, which they say they will if there's not "significant progress" in negotiations, per their statement at SB Nation. (More income disparity stories.)

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