By Justin Cuthbert – The score

The U.S. women’s national hockey team announced Wednesday that it will not defend its title at the IIHF World Championships in Michigan later this month, citing wage inequality and lack of support from USA Hockey.

Players will not report until meaningful progress is made in their negotiations with the governing body, discussions they say have been put off for more than a year.

“We are asking for a living wage and for USA Hockey to fully support its programs for women and girls and stop treating us like an afterthought,” captain Meghan Duggan told ESPN.

“We have represented our country with dignity and deserve to be treated with fairness and respect.”

ESPN reports that players competing for the highly successful program earn $1,000 per month during the six-month Olympic residency program. Beyond that, compensation is “virtually nothing,” and that players are expected to maintain fitness levels and compete at the highest level during that time for negligible pay.

“We are fortunate to have strong pioneers who have changed the landscape of their sport. Figures such as Billie Jean King or teams like U.S. women’s soccer have built a foundation not only for hope, but for action,” Hilary Knight said, a member of Team USA since 2006.

“As leaders in the sport of hockey, we are asking for equitable support and encouragement for participation for women. This is another important step for women in sports, but also for women at large and for generations to come in our fight for equal pay and support.”

The team was scheduled to arrive at training camp on March 21 before the tournament begins 10 days later in Plymouth, Mich.