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Members of the U.S. women's national hockey team agreed to a four-year contract with USA Hockey on Tuesday night to avert a threatened boycott of the IIHF World Championship in Plymouth, Mich.

The players will make about $70,000 each year, though they could make more than $100,000 in Olympic years if they win gold.

The breakdown includes USA Hockey creating an annual fund of $950,000 to be divided among the 23 players, two people with knowledge of the agreement who are not authorized to release the numbers told USA TODAY Sports. The range for the fund in 2017 is $850,000 to $950,000.

The deal also ensures each player will receive $2,000 a month during the life of the deal -- the maximum players get in direct financial support from the U.S. Olympic Committee. Players earn between $750 to $2,000 from the USOC, meaning USA Hockey has agreed to make up the difference.

The players could reach into the six figures in Olympic years with medal bonuses paid by the USOC. For example, the gold medal winners receive $37,500, the silver winners $22,500 and the bronze winners $15,000.

In addition, the women's players will receive the same accommodations as men's players for the world championship.

In their former deal, players received $1,000 a month from USA Hockey for the six months leading up to the Olympics and nothing during the non-Olympic years.

The deal includes the formation of a Women's High Performance Advisory Group that will contain former and current members of the women's national team. This group will offer advice in helping USA Hockey advance girls and women's hockey.

"I think what we fought for over the last few weeks was something that transcended sports," Team USA forward Hilary Knight, who will be playing in her ninth world championship, told USA TODAY Sports. "This empowered women all over the world -- and not only those involved in sports.

"I think after the world championship is done and all this settles down, we will be able to look back and be able to say, 'We did this. This is our legacy.' Obviously, this isn't just our legacy alone. The group that came before us laid the foundation. It's really a remarkable time to be a woman in sports."

The Americans will hold a practice at 3:15 p.m. ET Thursday in Plymouth and will open their title defense with a game against Canada on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at USA Hockey Arena.

The U.S. women have won seven of the last nine world championships.

"This is a very successful outcome, and very good for the future of USA Hockey and our women's athletes and women's hockey in the United States," USA Hockey executive director Dave Ogrean told USA TODAY Sports.

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March 29, 2017


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