Members of the US women's ice hockey team announced Wednesday that they would be boycotting the upcoming world championships unless "significant progress" is made between the team and USA Hockey over the team's wages and support structure.
All but two women on the 23-player roster tweeted out the statement, though Megan Keller and Kali Flanagan are occupied playing for Boston College.
The Women's World Championship is set to kick off at the end of the month in Plymouth, Michigan, which means without the US team, the tournament loses its hosts and defending champions. This is huge, because Team USA has won the gold medal for the last three World Championships, according to Fox Sports.
"We all want to go play", she said.
There is a possibility the players could call off their boycott and play at the world championships, if they make progress in negotiations with USA Hockey over the next week. "An incredible stand by United States women's hockey team", another said.
This has been in the works for 14 months, since the women's team approached Ballard Sparhr-the same law firm that represented the American women's soccer team a year ago, when they demanded equal pay with their male counterparts. The approaching WWC was a key factor in the NWHL shortening its season, as negotiated by influential members of the USWNT that play in the league.
Assistant captain Monique Lamoureux-Morando said: "It's hard to believe that, in 2017, we still have to fight so hard for basic equitable support".
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According the release, USA Hockey spends about $3.5 million to support boys who are participating in the National Team Development Program. "We have represented our country with dignity and deserve to be treated with fairness and respect".
In essence, the women's team has pushed for pay equality for over 17 years.
The American women have also medaled each of the five times women's hockey has been contested in the Winter Olympics, including winning gold in 1998.
USA Hockey has so far made improvements only to their six-month, pre-Olympic residency period.
"To voluntarily take ourselves out of the running to do that is not easy, but it's what's right and we're asking for what's right and fair", Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson said by phone.
But as one Twitter user pointed out, the issue isn't simply a desire for equal wages.
Combined with the very clear statement the women have made in rebuttal to USA Hockey's attempt to calm things, it seems that this issue is about to become a very, very big deal. "We get paid for six months out of a four-year span".