The dispute between the U.S. women’s national team and USA Hockey continued Friday, as the governing body released the financial figures central to stalled negotiations between the two sides.
Among the financial details released, USA Hockey said players’ demands — which it said include compensation, benefits and operations — would exceed $8 million during an Olympic year and $5.7 million in a non-Olympic year.
According to USA Today, the figures released were immediately disputed by the players. The report quoted a statement from the players as saying USA Hockey provided “patently false information.”
The team’s captain Meghan Duggan recently told ESPN that players were asking for a living wage, as well as full support for women’s and girl’s programs. However, in a lengthy news release, USA Hockey outlined why it will not provide a living wage, saying that would imply the organization employs players, which, according to its statement, it does not.
Providing players a living wage implies USA Hockey employs players and it does not. Simply, USA Hockey does not pay players a salary – women or men – and instead provides training stipends and support to help put athletes that participate on our national teams in the best possible position to compete for a gold medal. USA Hockey is not a professional sports league, rather a non-profit organization that fields teams for international competition with players who participate on a voluntary basis. In a non-Olympic year, players from the U.S. Women’s National Team are typically involved in official team activities for a period of 60-70 days over the course of a year, while in an Olympic year, players have typically trained together in a residency program for the six months prior to the Games.
On Wednesday, the women’s team announced it would boycott this year’s tournament. USA Hockey imposed a deadline (5 p.m. on Thursday) for players to decide if they would participate in the competition, but the team then let that deadline pass.
“USA Hockey will continue to have conversations with representatives of players that are part of the U.S. Women’s National Team program. The clear objective is to resolve the situation so that the players previously selected to play in the upcoming IIHF World Championship are those that represent our country,” it said in the release.
This year’s tournament begins March 31 in Plymouth, Mich. The U.S. has won the world championship three years in a row.