By Navin Vaswani – The Score
USA Hockey and the U.S. women’s national team have reached a four-year agreement “that will result in groundbreaking support” for the program, USA Hockey announced Tuesday.
The deal ensures the national team will compete at this year’s women’s world championship, which begins Friday in Plymouth, Mich.
Major increases in compensation, travel and insurance benefits and a committee to give women more of a voice in USA Hockey.
— Craig Custance (@CraigCustance) March 29, 2017
“Today reflects everyone coming together and compromising in order to reach a resolution for the betterment of the sport,” USA Hockey president Jim Smith said. “We’ll now move forward together knowing we’ll look back on this day as one of the most positive in the history of USA Hockey.”
The team planned to boycott the world championship unless a deal was struck, citing unfair wages and a lack of support for the players. While negotiations and dialogue between the two parties were ongoing, time was fast running out for an agreement to be reached, especially with the U.S. hosting the tournament.
The team will practice Thursday, and will host Canada on Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET.
ESPN’s Johnette Howard has a number of reported details on the deal:
- Compensation per player will rise to $70,000.
- The women’s team will now earn performance-related bonuses for the first time, and players could see their incomes reach six figures with world championship and Olympic titles.
- A gold medal is worth $20,000, and a silver $15,000.
- Each national team member will receive a $2,000 monthly stipend, regardless of experience. Before this agreement, newer team members were earning between $750 and $2,000, based on experience.
- Travel, insurance, and per diem amounts will now be the same for the women as they are for the men’s team.
- Committees will be established for marketing, scheduling, and public relations recommendations, and a foundation position will be created to focus on fundraising, which pales in comparison to the U.S. boys’ developmental team and the USHL.
“Our sport is a big winner today. We stood up for what we thought was right and USA Hockey’s leadership listened,” captain Meghan Duggan said. “I’m proud of my teammates and can’t thank everyone who supported us enough.”
The dispute became a major story in hockey circles, with NHLers chiming in, and support for the team coming in droves on social media.
“I’m glad we could come together and reach an arrangement that will have a positive and lasting impact,” forward Hilary Knight said.