Men's players offer support in women's battle with USA Hockey

ARLINGTON, VA. - Former members of the U.S. Olympic men's hockey team offered support Thursday for their colleagues with the women's U.S. national team in their effort to get better compensation from USA Hockey.

"I respect it," Washington Capitals defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk told ESPN in an interview. "I think it takes a lot of courage to make that sort of stand. And I've known some of those girls for a little while now from my B.U. (Boston University) days training in the summers with them and seeing them at Olympics."

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Kevin Shattenkirk (22), seen here in a 2014 game vs. Canada, said he respects what the members of the women's team are doing. "It takes a lot of courage," he said.

"Those girls have a full plate, year-round, with what they do," added Shattenkirk, a member of the 2014 men's Olympic team that competed in Sochi, Russia. "For them to ask for better pay and substantial pay for all the sacrifice that they give to the program, I think is valid and it's warranted."

Shattenkirk said the commitment of the women's hockey team to being a top international competitor needs to be recognized in a tangible way.

"They do a lot and I know a lot of them have families and other responsibilities so I'm sure that can be a burden and time-consuming," Shattenkirk said. "For them it definitely seems like a valid argument."

John Carlson was also part of the '14 men's Olympic team and while he wasn't aware of the specific demands being made by the women's team he believes they need to be treated fairly.

"They deserve every bit of everything they get and probably a lot more because they've been awesome competitors and it's a whole different landscape that they have to deal with," Carlson said.

Carlson and Brooks Orpik, who won a silver medal with Team USA at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, both described a bond that existed between the men's and women's teams at the Olympics with the teams attending games to cheer on each other when schedules permitted.

Orpik said there's no way to compare how the two teams are treated by USA Hockey given that the men are paid NHL salaries and have all the benefits that come with being part of the NHL.

"It's tough for us to know exactly what situation they're in financially but knowing what most of the salaries are in that (women's) league asking for a little bit more than what they're supposedly getting doesn't seem unreasonable to me," Orpik said.

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