A pair of Am Law 100 firms are advising separate sides in a dispute over wages between the U.S. women’s national hockey team and USA Hockey Inc.

Ballard Spahr has taken a lead role advising the women’s team, the latest torch bearers in a fight over equitable compensation in sports, as they threatened Wednesday a boycott on their participation in a major tournament later this month after a year of stalled negotiations over increased wages and support from the sport’s U.S. governing body.

“The players are resolute and passionate about changing the culture of USA Hockey for themselves and the next generation,” said labor and employment litigator John Langel, a recently retired Ballard Spahr partner in Philadelphia. Langel is working with Ballard Spahr litigation partner Dee Spagnuolo, no stranger to progressive causes, in representing the team pro bono.

Langel, a well-known sports industry lawyer who retired from Ballard Spahr in July 2016 after 41 years at the firm, previously served as outside general counsel to the U.S. women’s national soccer team from 1998 to 2014. He helped organize and create victory tours for the women’s soccer team following their World Cup victories, renegotiated their contracts with the U.S. Soccer Federation and helped start two professional women’s soccer leagues.

“We remain hopeful that USA Hockey will come back to the bargaining table with good faith and discuss these issues in a meaningful way so that we can move forward,” Spanguolo said. “We would love to see the players host and defend the world championship.”

Read the full article here. Subscription may be required.