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Gracie Gold debated skipping Grand Prix season

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Gracie Gold thought about skipping the fall Grand Prix season while taking “time to find that joy” again in figure skating this summer.

On Icenetwork.com’s Ice Talk podcast, Gold said she spent months “avoiding dealing with” the disappointment of falling from first after the world championships short program to finish fourth on April 2.

“I thought about not doing the Grand Prix this year this summer, just because, am I ready?” Gold, the reigning U.S. champion still searching for her first individual Olympic or worlds medal, said on the podcast published Wednesday. “But then I thought about not doing it. I would rather do the process, and I’d rather train for it and compete and have it maybe not be perfect than not do it at all. That’s just not my style to just sit this one out.”

Gold said she showed up at her home rink in California four days out of the month of July, according to Icenetwork.com.

“I’ve had some struggles,” she said in August, according to the website. “June and July were really hard for me. That’s when worlds depression really hit. I was on vacation. I had a lot of down time.”

Gold decided to go ahead and compete in the Grand Prix series after talking with others. The first of her two events is Skate America this weekend (broadcast schedule here).

Gold struggled at the free-skate-only Japan Open on Oct. 1, finishing sixth out of six skaters. Still, Gold said “it would be a mistake” if she didn’t compete at all before the U.S. Championships in January.

MORE: Skate America preview

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, a report that USA Hockey would not confirm.

U.S. captain Meghan Duggan has said every player in the U.S. national team player pool, plus under-18 national team players, committed to not playing at worlds unless the wage dispute is resolved.

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. They met formally on Monday for more than 10 hours, with both sides calling it productive.

Neither side has said when its next scheduled meeting will take place.

On Tuesday, USA Hockey said it postponed a pre-worlds camp that was to run through next Tuesday in Traverse City, Mich., and canceled a scheduled Friday exhibition against Finland.

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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