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Women's National Team players remain united against USA Hockey

The fight between USA Hockey and the members of the senior women's national team took another plot twist late Thursday as the national governing body reportedly started contacting potential replacement players for the upcoming world championships.

The national team players and USA Hockey have been negotiating their new deal for months. Players are looking for improvements in three key areas: wages, marketing and development. With no deal in place, players announced they would boycott the IIHF Women's World Championship, which begins March 31 in Plymouth, Mich.

USA Hockey fired back a press release stating it does not provide a living wage because "providing players a living wage implies USA Hockey employs players and it does not." The organization also stated in its proposal that players could earn "$90,000 in training stipends and other performance incentives for gold-medal performances in both the upcoming IIHF Women’s World Championship and the Olympic Winter Games." The players contest that figure, stating the majority of that money comes from the United States Olympic Committee, not from USA Hockey.

USA Hockey has not addressed publicly the other main issue for the players -- the lack of equal developmental support. USA Hockey funds the National Team Development Program with a pair of teams for high school boys with no equivalent for girls.

Both sides said they had a productive meeting on Monday, but the negotiations appeared to deteriorate by Thursday. Both USA Today and the Associated Press reported that USA Hockey had started calling other players, from the NWHL and college hockey, to possibly field a replacement team next week.

The women responded with a statement on Twitter saying in part, "as we have maintained from the beginning, this issue is about more than compensation of the current team: it's about equitable treatment for female players now and in the future."

It continued:

"Some in the media have asked if USA Hockey made a counter proposal. They did -- they made a disappointing offer that didn't reflect the progress of the negotiations. We ask they approve the original agreement that, the players believed, was acceptable to both parties after Monday's meeting."

The players, including Buffalo native and Nichols graduate Emily Pfalzer, have been active and unified on Twitter, starting a social media campaign #BeBoldForChange.

They continue to receive support from players in other sports, including the latest Tweet of support from the Major League Baseball Players' Association:

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