Women’s national team is voting on a deal with USA Hockey
Members of the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team are voting on a labor deal proposed by USA Hockey, according to Brant Feldman, an agent who represents several players on the team.
If the players accept the terms, it would end the team’s protest for fair pay.
The women’s team had vowed to sit out the upcoming International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship games unless it reached a deal with USA Hockey.
The games, which the U.S. is hosting, begin on Friday. The team is the defending champ and was supposed to report to training camp last week, but negotiations with USA Hockey faltered.
The women’s players were asking for a $68,000 annual salary as well as for benefits like child care, maternity leave and the ability to compete in more games throughout the year.
The women, who are ranked #1 in the world, also wanted better benefits at IIHF World Championship games. Specifically, they want to be able to bring guests to competitions, fly in business class and get disability insurance.
These are all benefits that the male players already get, according to former national team player Anders Lee, who plays for the NHL’s New York Islanders. Those benefits are also described in player handbooks from 2013 and 2014 that were obtained by CNNMoney. The men are ranked fourth in the world.
The deal came a day after members of USA Hockey’s Board of Directors met to discuss the protest and decide what to do. The board has 91 voting members, 15 of whom are women.
During the protest, the players’ associations of MLB, the NBA, the NFL and the NHL all released statements praising the efforts of the women and encouraging them to stand together.
According to NHL agent Allan Walsh, male pro players are “seriously considering” whether to sit out their IIHF games as well in solidarity with the women.
They also received support from 14 U.S. senators, including Elizabeth Warren, Dianne Feinstein, Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, who called on USA Hockey to treat the women’s team fairly.
USA Hockey said from the beginning of the protest that it would field a team to compete in the games — with or without the current members.
However, filling an alternate squad didn’t prove to be easy.
A player on the team told CNNMoney that current team members reached out to alternate players to ask them not to play in the games as a show of solidarity. The women’s team also reached out individually to NCAA coaches and college players to get them on board.
As USA Hockey struggled to fill a roster for the games, it had to go further down the list to high school players.
On Saturday, two high schoolers, Cayla Barnes and Natalie Snodgrass, tweeted that they’d been approached by USA Hockey and turned down spots on the replacement team.
Barnes is a senior at the New Hampton School in New Hampshire and Snodgrass is a senior at Eastview High School in Minnesota. Both have played on the U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team.
USA Hockey declined repeated requests for comment for this article.