USA Hockey quashed lucrative 2014 Olympic rematch with Canada, says American player

When Canada beat the USA for gold in one of the most exciting games ever in women's Olympic hockey at the Sochi Olympics in 2014, Tim Leiweke, the president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment at the time, had one thought.

Let's do it again.

And why not?

Five million Americans and 13 million Canadians had watched the game. Interest in women's hockey had never been higher.

But they couldn't play for the gold medal again. So the prize this time? Cash, lot's of it. Half a million dollars for the winning team.

It would be a windfall for mostly amateur athletes whose stories of financial struggle to play the game they love come to light when the Olympics roll around every four years.

The game would take place at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto and be broadcast throughout North America.

A pay day

FInally, there was going to be a pay day.

But the puck never dropped.

News of this potential gold-plated cash game came out Monday in the midst of a dispute between USA Hockey and members of the national women's team over wages and equity with the men's program.

The players are threatening to boycott the upcoming world championship, which happen to be in their backyard this year, in Plymouth, Mich., beginning March 31.

The players want more money and respect.

And that's what Brianne McLaughlin, the USA goaltender, was talking about when she told the story of this potential rematch on a podcast on Monday.

"So we had a meeting about it," McLaughlin said about the offer the team received to play the rematch. "And by the time we got out of our meeting, before we even decided what we wanted to do, we had heard from the Canadian team that USA Hockey told them that we didn't want to play."

"I think that that is correct," said Brant Feldman, who represented players on that Team USA and tried to make the rematch a reality.

Feldman said the offer, relayed through USA Hockey, was delivered less than 24 hours after the Americans gave up a two-goal lead late in the third period and went on to lose the gold medal in overtime to their rival Canadians.

"It just hit them at the wrong time," Feldman said about the timing of the offer.

USA Hockey has not responded to the revelation, and Hockey Canada has not responded to the CBC's request for comment.

Five-time Olympic team member Hayley Wickenheiser, through her publicist, recalls hearing something about a rematch, but not much more.

"I have no clear memory of anything in particular one way or the other," Wickenheiser said. "We had just won our medal. I wasn't focused on anything else at the time, to be honest."

Although not certain of Team Canada's position on the rematch, Feldman said; "You just won the Olympics, you're going to play a game at the Air Canada Centre and there is a bunch of money up for grabs. Why wouldn't you be on board?"