After threat of boycott, deal brings U.S. women back for hockey world championships in Plymouth

Mar 31, 2017
Originally published on March 30, 2017 5:59 pm

The U.S. Women’s Hockey team will play in the IIHF World Championship after all. The team ended their threat of boycotting the tournament after agreeing to a four-year deal with USA Hockey.

One of the players happy to be back on the ice is Farmington Hills native Megan Keller. The defender who plays college hockey for Boston College joined Stateside to talk about what the women's national team was hoping to gain from the new deal.

"The overall support for women's ice hockey as a whole, and just that equitable support," Keller said. "I work with my teammates and these women each and every day, and they all work so hard and they deserve this. We all deserve this, and the sport deserves this."

The team was seeking "a living wage" for its players, and for the federation to invest more in the development of women's and girls' hockey. Under the new agreement, the players will be paid roughly $70,000 per year and for the first time, will receive performance bonuses if they win a medal.

Players could potentially earn as much as $100,000 if they win a gold model. Their travel budget, accommodations and insurance coverage will now be on par with the men's team, and USA Hockey also agreed to further invest in women's hockey youth development programs.   

The U.S. women have won seven of the last nine world championships, including the last three. They will open the tournament on Friday night when they take on Canada, the team they have faced in the championship game every year since the tournament started in 1990. The competition is being held at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth. 

Listen to the full interview above to hear how unity helped make the deal happen, and what it will be like for Keller to play in the world championships so close to her hometown.

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