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Mar 23, 7:01 PM EDT

USA Hockey begins contacting potential women's replacements

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AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

USA Hockey says it will begin reaching out to potential replacement players in case the women's national team boycotts the upcoming world championships over an ongoing wage dispute.

The organization says in a statement sent to The Associated Press that it's still prioritizing having the original team on the ice.

But USA Hockey informed players' representatives that it will be gauging replacement players' availability for the tournament, which begins March 31 in Plymouth, Michigan.

Executive director Dave Ogrean says USA Hockey's objective remains having the players picked for the team represent the U.S. and called negotiations this week "productive conversations." The sides met for 10-plus hours in person Monday in an effort to resolve a dispute over wages.

The U.S. is the defending champion.

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