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Wisconsin's Hilary Knight fires a slapshot during the NCAA Frozen Four Championship Game in Duluth Sunday afternoon. (2012 Dave Harwig)
Wisconsin’s Hilary Knight fires a shot during the Frozen Four championship game in 2012 between the Badgers and Minnesota (photo: Dave Harwig).

USA Hockey and the U.S. Women’s National Team announced Tuesday that they’ve reached an agreement that will result in groundbreaking support for the U.S. Women’s National Team program over the course of the next four years.

The agreement ensures fans will see the U.S. Women’s National Team defend its gold medal in the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship on home ice. The event begins Friday (March 31) at USA Hockey Arena in the Detroit suburb of Plymouth, with Team USA facing Canada at 7:30 p.m. EDT (live on NHL Network). The U.S. is expected to hold its first official practice on Thursday (March 30) at 3:15 p.m. ET at USA Hockey Arena.

“Today reflects everyone coming together and compromising in order to reach a resolution for the betterment of the sport,” said USA Hockey president Jim Smith in a statement. “We’ll now move forward together knowing we’ll look back on this day as one of the most positive in the history of USA Hockey.”

“Our sport is the big winner today,” added Meghan Duggan, captain of the U.S. Women’s National Team. “We stood up for what we thought was right and USA Hockey’s leadership listened. In the end, both sides came together. I’m proud of my teammates and can’t thank everyone who supported us enough. It’s time now to turn the page. We can’t wait to play in the World Championship later this week in front of our fans as we try and defend our gold medal.”

“We look forward to the future with great anticipation,” noted USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean. “This process has, in the end, made us better.”

“I’m glad we could come together and reach an arrangement that will have a positive and lasting impact,” said Hilary Knight, veteran forward of the U.S. Women’s National Team. “This is an inspirational time and we’re excited to get back on the ice and represent our country.”

Last week, news broke that the women’s national team was considering a boycott of the World Championship if wage and marketing demands, among others, were not met.

  • Roaring Aardvark

    I’m not up to speed on the make-up (no pun intended – really!) of the US Women’s team, so forgive me for asking, but…
    Presuming that some of the players are playing in NCAA programs, what (if any) affect would this agreement have on their NCAA status? This seems to me, for all intents and purposes to be collectively bargained negotiation for (from the last paragraph of the article) “wages and marketing demands”. Wouldn’t being part of such a negotiation constitute “going pro”, thus forfeiting any remaining NCAA eligibility they had left?

  • Roaring Aardvark

    I’m not up to speed on the make-up (no pun intended – really!) of the US Women’s team, so forgive me for asking, but…
    Presuming that some of the players are playing in NCAA programs, what (if any) affect would this agreement have on their NCAA status? This seems to me, for all intents and purposes to be collectively bargained negotiation for (from the last paragraph of the article) “wages and marketing demands”. Wouldn’t being part of such a negotiation constitute “going pro”, thus forfeiting any remaining NCAA eligibility they had left?