Members of the U.S. women’s hockey team agreed to extend their existing contract for one month on Wednesday to focus on completing the world championship tournament in Denmark.
Representatives for both the players and USA Hockey confirmed the agreement to The Associated Press, hours before their current contract was set to expire.
“It gives everybody a little bit of breathing room,” said the players’ lawyer, Dee Spagnuolo. “We will use that month to focus on issues of critical importance to the players. In the meantime, the players are focusing on gold.”
In saying an extension was in place, USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer said “our focus is on the world championships,” while adding: “Conversations continue to be productive and everyone feels like we’re in a decent spot.”
The extension avoids putting the players in a difficult situation in continuing to compete at the 10-nation tournament without a deal in place.
The Americans rolled through the preliminary round with a 4-0 record and enter the playoffs as the top seed following a 5-2 win over Canada on Tuesday. The U.S. plays Hungary in the quarterfinal round on Thursday. The semifinals are Saturday followed by the championship game on Sunday.
The contract for Team Canada players also expires on Wednesday. The players and Hockey Canada have already agreed to resume negotiations following the tournament, a person with knowledge of the discussions told The AP. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the talks are private.
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