Kurt Angle

Celebrity eBay auctions launched to aid Olympic wrestling

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A walk-on role on “Boardwalk Empire,” meeting Jay Leno and Mario Lopez and a training session with Randy Couture are some of the items up for bid to benefit wrestling’s hope to remain in the Olympics.

Actor and wrestling advocate Billy Baldwin and the Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling (CPOW) launched the first of three auctions through eBay on Friday.

On Feb. 12, the International Olympic Committee voted to recommend wrestling be dropped from the Olympic program starting in 2020. In September, the IOC will choose one of wrestling, baseball/softball and squash to add for the 2020 and 2024 Olympics.

Wrestling has been a part of the Olympics at every Games in the modern era dating to the first in 1896 in Athens except in 1904.

Seven items are currently up for bid, including a one-hour training session with mixed martial arts star Couture, meeting Leno at “The Tonight Show,” meeting Lopez at “Extra,” a backstage experience with pro wrestlers Hulk Hogan and 1996 Olympic champion Kurt Angle and a rendezvous with ESPN’s Mike Golic.

Items scheduled to go up for bid later include a VIP ticket package for the Rio 2016 Olympics, a walk-on role on “Boardwalk Empire” and lunch with actor Tom Arnold.

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USA Hockey to start reaching out to potential replacement players

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USA Hockey will begin reaching out to “alternate players” to determine their interest in playing for the U.S. at the women’s world championship next week amid a potential boycott by its national team.

The contact is taking place in the event a resolution cannot be reached between USA Hockey and the women’s national team in a wage dispute.

“It’s important for everyone to understand clearly that our objective is to have the players we named as the U.S. women’s national team be the ones that compete in the world championship,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, in a statement. “Productive conversations have taken place this week and are ongoing in our collective efforts to reach a resolution.”

The alternate players are in the professional NWHL and college, according to USA Today.

The world championship tournament starts March 31 in Plymouth, Mich.

As of Thursday evening, no resolution has come between USA Hockey and its women’s national team. Neither side has said when its next scheduled meeting will take place.

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MORE: NHL asked for decision on Olympics by end of April

NHL asked for decision on Olympics by end of April

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International Ice Hockey Federation President Rene Fasel tells The Associated Press he needs to know by the end of April whether NHL players will be cleared to play in the South Korea Olympics next year.

NHL team owners have made it clear they don’t want to stop their season again for the Winter Games and put their stars at risk of injury. The reluctance has come up before and yet the NHL has participated in the Olympics since 1998. This time, however, there seems to be an impasse.

The head of the NHL Players Association, Donald Fehr, says the players want to participate and hopes the league will take advantage of the chance to market the game in Asia.

However, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly says without “material change to the current status quo, NHL players will not be participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics.”

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MORE: 2018 Olympic hockey groups set