There was always the chance that talks between the women’s national hockey team and USA Hockey would crash.

USA Hockey, the sport’s governing body, at one point threatened to find replacement players, and the pressure on the women’s team was enormous.

Financial details have been kept confidential, but it reportedly calls for an annual salary of $70,000 a year, and commitments from USA Hockey to increase promotion of women’s hockey. Before the deal was signed, USA Hockey guaranteed the women no more than $1,000 a month for a several-month period leading up to the Olympics.

Dee Spagnuolo, and her negotiating partner, John Langel, a longtime Ballard sports and employment lawyer who retired last year, began their representation of the players in 2015. Talks with USA Hockey commenced last year. It was a pro bono representation, meaning they did not charge for their services.

“They were not only willing to sacrifice the opportunity to play in the championships,” she said. “Had USA Hockey been able to find a replacement team as they were trying to do, it would have been very difficult to reach an agreement and very possible that these players would have sacrificed their careers.”

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Dee Spagnuolo
John B. Langel (Retired Partner)