Top executives from USA Hockey will meet representatives of the women’s national team to discuss a wage dispute that could lead to players boycotting the upcoming world championships.
John Langel, a lawyer for the players, told The Associated Press on Sunday that they’ll meet with USA Hockey officials in Philadelphia on Monday, two days before the scheduled start of training camp. USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer confirmed that the meeting would take place.
Players announced Wednesday they’d boycott camp and the tournament unless significant progress is made in negotiations on what they hope is a four-year contract.
The International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship begins March 31 in Plymouth, Michigan. The U.S. is the defending champion and has won six of the past eight world championships.
Captain Meghan Duggan and stars Hilary Knight, twins Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, Kacey Bellamy and Kendal Coyne are scheduled to take part in the meeting on the players’ side. President Jim Smith, executive director Dave Ogrean, treasurer Donna Guariglia and director of women’s hockey Reagan Carey will represent USA Hockey.
The organization and players traded barbs Friday over demands but agreed to meet to further discussions.
Players are seeking a deal that pays them outside the six-month Olympic period. USA Hockey has said it is not in the business of employing players but is still hoping the players picked for the world championships are on the ice when it begins.
Knight said Friday that it was her hope that USA Hockey would “reach out to our lawyers and present something that’s worth sitting down to the table for.”
After players called numbers released by USA Hockey “patently false,” Lamoureux-Davidson said, “I just think they need to come to the table and let’s talk about it.”
Players have said USA Hockey pays them nothing outside the Olympic period and $1,000 a month for the six months leading up to the Games.
Follow Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/SWhyno .
Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press