USA Hockey goes on offensive in negotiations with women – USA TODAY
USA TODAY Sports’ A.J. Perez explains why the USA women’s hockey team is boycotting the upcoming International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship.
USA TODAY Sports
USA Hockey went public Friday with the negotiations it is having with women’s national hockey team, releasing financial terms that were immediately disputed as the players continue to say they will boycott the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship that starts this month.
In a news release, USA Hockey said the players asked for as much as $237,000 each in an Olympic year and $149,000 in a non-Olympic year, figures that include performance bonuses and other stipends paid by U.S. Olympic Committee. USA Hockey said in the statement the organization has “been clear it will not employ players,” although it’s “not opposed to a yearly agreement which outlines allocation of direct athlete support.”
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A statement from the players said USA Hockey had provided “patently false information.”
“We’re disappointed with USAH’s response,” star forward Hilary Knight told USA TODAY Sports in a text message. “Again offering numbers that are dishonest and misrepresented —actually somewhat confusing. We stand strong in our resolve to fight for equitable support.”
A person with knowledge of the negotiations who is not authorized to speak publicly told USA TODAY Sports that the players sought about $72,000 per year in recent negotiations.
USA Hockey said it has offered the women as much as $90,000 each based on the team’s performance in the Olympics and world championship, figures which include bonuses and stipends from the USOC.
“The players are disheartened by the response, which fails to distinguish between funds from the U.S. Olympic Committee and funds from USA Hockey,” according to the statement released by the players.
Players have said they receive $1,000 per month for six months from USA Hockey before an Olympic Games, and USA Hockey officials said core players receive $3,000 per month. USA Hockey’s figure includes $2,000 per month from the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Direct Athlete Support program. Some athletes only receive $700 from that program.
The players were scheduled to arrive in Plymouth, Mich., to begin training camp ahead of the world championship that starts March 31.
Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, said in the statement that the organization would still like for the players to appear in the tournament and that it is contacting player representatives.
On Thursday, USA Hockey set a 5 pm ET deadline for players to commit to playing in the tournament, but nobody on the 23-player roster moved off their boycott threat.
“We remain committed to having the players that were selected to represent the U.S. in the upcoming women’s world championship to be the players that are on the ice when the tournament begins,” Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, said in a statement.