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U.S. Women's Hockey Team's Boycott Threat Appears to Result in New Deal

Team USA is expected to vote on a deal that will end the IIHF World Championships boycott.

Sean Newell

Team USA and USA Hockey appear to be close to settling a labor dispute that would have kept the team from participating in the IIHF World Championship, which starts on Friday. USA Hockey has submitted a proposed deal that the women have accepted, according to USA Today. The women are expected to vote on the measure later today.

After more than a year of bargaining over equal wages and developmental support went nowhere, Team USA announced they would be boycotting the Worlds on the eve of the tournament. USA Hockey's response was to attempt to ice a team of scabs, first from the National Women's Hockey League, and when that went nowhere, they contacted college players—even from Division III. They even tried to entice some high schoolers to cross over. None of it worked.

Then, yesterday, 16 U.S. senators wrote a letter to USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean, urging the organization to treat women equally.

"We urge you to resolve this dispute quickly to ensure that the USA Women's National Hockey Team receives equitable resources," the senators wrote. "These elite athletes indeed deserve fairness and respect, and we hope you will be a leader on this issue as women continue to push for equality in athletics."

USA Hockey's handling of this dispute has been an abject failure, and as the story spread, women from across the country and sports stood in solidarity with Team USA.

If approved, the deal will likely be for four years. Team USA's first game is scheduled against Canada at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.

[USA Today]