March 20-- After meeting with USA Hockey officials for last-minute negotiations, nearly 20 members of the powerhouse American women's team sounded optimistic about abandoning their boycott of the upcoming world championships.
The meeting took place at the offices of the players' attorney in Philadelphia on Monday.
"The discussions were productive and will continue this week, with the goal of reaching an agreement that would allow the players to get to camp in time to train," the players said in a statement.
USA Hockey had expected the team to report in several days, with the tournament scheduled to begin at the end of the month in Plymouth, Mich.
But players announced their decision to boycott last week, having grown frustrated over failed talks to address concerns that the women's program does not receive support commensurate to that of the men's.
The athletes have been asking for greater compensation and more funding for training, staff, equipment and junior development, among other things.
The U.S. women rank among the country's most successful programs with a string of world titles and medals from every Winter Games since the sport was added to the Olympics.
"The players are hopeful they will get to take to the ice and represent their country," they said in Monday's statement.
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