USA Hockey, women's players hold 'productive' talks

SOCHI, RUSSIA – FEBRUARY 20: Julie Chu #13 of the United States celebrates with teammates after Meghan Duggan #10 scored a second-period goal against Canada during the Ice Hockey Women’s Gold Medal Game on day 13 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 20, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)

Players from the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team, their legal team and executives from USA Hockey met in Philadelphia on Monday to discuss a wage dispute that could lead to the side boycotting the upcoming IIHF World Championship in Plymouth, Michigan.

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On Monday evening the women released a statement:

Today, nearly 20 players from the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team and their Ballard Spahr lawyers met with USA Hockey to negotiate equitable support and fair wages. The discussions were productive and will continue this week, with the goal of reaching an agreement that would allow the players to get to camp in time to train for and compete in the World Championships. The players are hopeful they will get to take to the ice and represent their country. They would like to again thank their fans for their support throughout this process.

Camp was set to begin on Wednesday with the women’s team kicking off the tournament March 31 against Canada. The U.S. has won gold at the last three World Championships and in six of the past seven tournaments.

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Last week, the women’s team announced they would boycott the Worlds this year unless “significant progress has been made on the year-long negotiations with USA Hockey over fair wages and equitable support.” Players are looking to get a wage outside of the six-months leading up to the Winter Olympics every four years.

After 10 hours of discussions Monday, and a plan to talk later this week, there was some optimism an agreement could be hammered out to avoid a boycott.

”We feel like we made progress today,” forward Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson told the AP. ”They were productive, and we are hopeful that we can come to a timely agreement that would get us to Plymouth in time to prepare as a team so that we could compete in worlds.”

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Sean_Leahy

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