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Team USA Women’s Hockey Players Are Locked Out

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Photo: AP/ Julio Cortez

It remains to be seen whether USA Hockey and the members of the US Women’s National Team will patch up their differences which would pave the way for the American women to compete in the world championships in Plymouth, Michigan starting on March 31, the final day of Women’s History Month.

The dispute between the hockey players and USA Hockey is a typical labor conflict. The players said they would strike the world championships without improvements in their working conditions. USA Hockey locked out the players from training in Traverse City, Michigan on Wednesday and then canceled the USA-Finland scheduled contest on Friday. The sides will continue to negotiate.

The players claim that they only get paid in a six-month window prior to the Olympics which is held every four years and want more money and more opportunities to get paid in non-Olympic years. The players want a pay hike and contend the US men’s team is given more benefits and marketing help.

In many ways, it echoes what the United States Women’s Soccer Team was saying prior to the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. The soccer players were underpaid and players’ conditions were not as good as the men’s. The difference in the two disputes, the women’s soccer players could not boycott the Rio Games because they had an existing collective bargaining agreement.

USA Hockey tried to bring in replacement players but the National Women’s Hockey League players have said “no.” United States women’s sports athletes are still fighting to get more of the pie, a struggle that has gone on for 50 years since Billie Jean King’s Wimbledon stand seeking equal pay for women in that tennis tournament. Women remain second class sports citizens despite the passage of Title IX and other tools even if the hockey players get concessions from USA Hockey, they are not going to get very much money.

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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