Members of the U.S. Women’s Ice Hockey team threatened to sit out the 2017 IIHF World Championships over a labor dispute, but the team will now play in the event after agreeing to a four-year wage agreement with USA Hockey.
ESPN reports that a deal was made Tuesday and it includes a $2,000 monthly stipend for players. USA Hockey confirmed the agreement, but said that the terms of the deal are not being released. Before the agreement, players got about $6,000 every four years.
U.S. Senators, including Democrat Richard Blumenthal, were not happy with that number -- and let USA Hockey know about it earlier this week in a letter to executive director David Ogrean.
“Clearly the difference in treatment between the men’s and women’s hockey teams is unacceptable and that’s the driving force here,” Blumenthal told WNPR. “That’s what gives us passion in seeking basic equity and fairness for the women.”
The Women’s Hockey World Championships start Friday in Michigan. The players from the U.S. team refused to play as late as Tuesday as they said they needed both fair pay and equitable resources. The deal that will get them back on the ice is said to include performance incentives to get the players more money, including a bonus if the team wins an Olympic gold medal.
Hilary Knight is a member of the USA Women’s Hockey team, and she recently explained what it would take for the players to agree to play.
“Just equitable support across the board and that includes some financial support, but also increasing visibility,” Knight said. “It’s been too long. It’s 2017 and we need to get with the times and support the women.”
The creation of an advisory group that is expected to fight for the advancement of all women’s hockey players is an additional part of this deal.