According to various published reports Wednesday, the U.S. Women’s National Team will reportedly boycott the upcoming Women’s World Championships, which are slated to start March 31 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich.
Reasons for the boycott, according to reports, are unfair wages and lack of marketing, among others.
Team USA captain Hilary Knight released a statement via Twitter early Wednesday:
— Hilary Knight (@Hilary_Knight) March 15, 2017
Team USA veterans Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux also chimed in via Facebook.
USA Hockey countered with a statement Wednesday afternoon:
USA Hockey understands the challenges elite athletes face in order to pursue their dreams of participating in international competition, including the Olympics. USA Hockey, along with the United States Olympic Committee, provides the Women’s National Team players financial support, as well as training opportunities, camps, and strength and conditioning programs, to help these athletes and give them the best chance to succeed.
“We acknowledge the players’ concerns and have proactively increased our level of direct support to the Women’s National Team as we prepare for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. “We have communicated that increased level of support to the players’ representatives and look forward to continuing our discussions.”
The support USA Hockey is implementing in order to prepare the Women’s National Team for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games includes a six-month training camp, additional support stipends and incentives for medals that could result in each player receiving nearly $85,000 in cash over the Olympic training and performance period. The sum is in addition to a housing allowance, travel allowances, meal expenses, medical and disability insurance and the infrastructure that includes elite-level support staff to train and prepare the players.
USA Hockey has a long-standing commitment to the support, advancement and growth of girls and women’s hockey and any claims to the contrary are unfounded.
USA Hockey is invested in the growth and development of girls and women at every level of play. As a matter of fact, USA Hockey has grown participation in girl’s and women’s hockey from just more than 23,000 players in 1998 to more than 73,000 today.
USA Hockey’s international programs have enjoyed amazing success in women’s hockey. This includes winning a gold or silver medal in each of the 17 women’s world championships, winning a medal in every Olympic Games since the sport was added to the Olympics in 1998, and playing in the gold medal game of every U18 women’s world championship.
While USA Hockey is disappointed that players from the Women’s National Team program have said today they do not intend to participate in the upcoming IIHF Women’s World Championship unless their financial demands are met, USA Hockey remains committed to continuing dialogue and will field a competitive team for the upcoming 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Plymouth, Michigan.
“In our role as the national governing body, USA Hockey trains and selects teams for international competition,” said Jim Smith, president of USA Hockey. “USA Hockey’s role is not to employ athletes and we will not do so. USA Hockey will continue to provide world-leading support for our athletes.”
The women’s team responded shortly after the USA Hockey statement.
— Emily Pfalzer (@EmilyPfalzer) March 15, 2017
And Minnesota Duluth coach Maura Crowell spoke to KBJR in Duluth about the situation.
Crowell: “Very courageous, proud of players. I hope USA Hockey backs them up. I know how much time, effort, blood, sweat and tears… (1/3)
— Zach Schneider (@zschneiderKBJR) March 15, 2017