Members of the United States women’s national team have decided to sit out the International Ice Hockey Federation world championship this month, after negotiations for an increase in wages and support from U.S.A. Hockey stalled.

“We are asking for a living wage and for U.S.A. Hockey to fully support its programs for women and girls and stop treating us like an afterthought,” the team captain, Meghan Duggan, said in a statement. “We have represented our country with dignity and deserve to be treated with fairness and respect.”

The women’s national team is being represented pro bono in its negotiations by the law firm Ballard Spahr. Ballard Spahr argues that the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act requires U.S.A. Hockey “to provide equitable support and encouragement for participation by women.”

John B. Langel, a lawyer for Ballard Spahr who once represented the United States women’s soccer team, said the players proposed a four-year contract to U.S.A. Hockey on March 8. He added that two previous meetings with the federation “didn’t advance the ball.”

Before Ballard Spahr’s involvement, a handful of agents negotiated on behalf of the players ahead of each Olympics.

In the past, several members of the women’s hockey team have mentioned the soccer team as an inspiration in the fight for gender and pay equality.

Langel noted a “remarkable similarity” in the teams’ missions, but he added that the hockey team’s situation was more comparable to where the soccer team was after winning the 1999 World Cup.

Read the full article here. Subscription may be required.