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Gracie Gold left off world championships team

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KANSAS CITY — Gracie Gold was left off the world championships team for the first time in her five-year senior career on Sunday.

A U.S. Figure Skating selection committee named the top three finishers from the U.S. Championships on Saturday night — Karen ChenAshley Wagner and Mariah Bell — to worlds in Helsinki in two months.

Gold placed sixth at nationals, her first time outside the top two, continuing a plunge since topping the 2016 World Championships short program and then finishing off the podium in fourth last March. Gold commented on her rough performance and disastrous season Saturday night.

Despite finishing sixth, Gold was still eligible for the three-woman worlds team. The committee decides based on not just nationals, but recent results starting with the 2016 U.S. Championships.

Gold won last year’s nationals, but after her fourth at worlds she had an awful fall season and didn’t come close to defending her U.S. title this past week.

U.S. champion Chen and Bell will make their worlds debuts in Helsinki. Wagner heads to her seventh worlds, one year after ending a 10-year U.S. women’s medal drought with a silver.

Gold is the second alternate behind Mirai Nagasu.

The U.S. team for worlds also includes pairs Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier and Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Christopher Knierim and ice dance couples Maia and Alex ShibutaniMadison Chock and Evan Bates and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue.

The Knierims successfully petitioned for a place on the worlds team despite not competing this season due to her September stomach surgery. They were the top U.S. pairs at the 2016 Worlds, placing ninth.

Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran, who were second at nationals in pairs, were left off the worlds team.

The two men on the worlds team will be named after Sunday’s free skate.

VIDEO: Wagner given Puffs during emotional press conference moment

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.

“We are confident that they [potential replacement players] would choose not to play,” the U.S. players said in a statement.

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.

“We ask that they approve the original agreement that, the players believed, was acceptable to both parties after Monday’s meeting,” the players said in a statement. “Unless there is an agreement, the players remain resolved to bypass the defense of the world championship.”

Neither side has said when the next 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