Senators Urge USA Hockey To End Dispute With Women's Team

These seem like reasonable demands, but US Hockey and their $440,000-a-year executive director Dave Ogrean have opted to hire scabs and field a "replacement team" for the World Championships.

Sports organizations, athletes and politicians have all expressed their support for the female hockey players who have threatened to boycott the IIHF women's tournament which begins Friday in Plymouth, Michigan. "They want more equipment - right now, many players have to ration three $250 sticks and one pair of $600 skates throughout the year". USA Hockey runs both the men and women's national teams. Still, USA Hockey mandates a time-consuming training schedule which makes outside employment hard for the players.

In 2000, a similar deal was struck for the United States women's soccer team that "changed the course of soccer for girls and women in this country", writes Julie Foudy, a former professional and national soccer team player, for ESPN. The players said the email from USA Hockey was not an invitation but rather an inquiry about their availability and they said no.

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The U.S. women's national team, which is planning to boycott the women's ice hockey world championships that begin Thursday in Plymouth, Michigan, over a wage dispute with USA Hockey, received messages of support in recent days from the NHL Players' Association, as well as the unions that represent NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball players.

They're looking for a four-year contract that includes payment outside the six-month Olympic period.

The women's team drew global attention when two weeks ago they threatened to boycott the world championships, which start on Friday in MI.

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On Saturday, the NFL Players Association and National Basketball Players Association joined the chorus of support for the players. Former NCAA Div. III, college club hockey players, recreation league players and even women as young as the U16 ranks announced on social media their rebuff of USA Hockey's offer. "Of course, they have our support in daring to withhold their services until a fair agreement is reached".

"We have communicated that increased level of support to the players' representatives and look forward to continuing our discussions".

Zach Bogosian, an American-born Buffalo Sabres defenseman, went to high school with US captain Meghan Duggan.

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The NHLPA weighed in Friday with a statement on Twitter saying "It is important that the best American women players be on the ice for the world championship and the notion of seeking replacement players will only serve to make relations, now and in the future, much worse". Team USA would be defending its gold medal from last season's world championships. "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". "We're all standing together".

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