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USA Hockey postpones training camp amid wage dispute

By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) - USA Hockey said on Wednesday it had put preparations for the upcoming world championships on hold amid a wage dispute with the U.S. women's team who have threatened to boycott the event.

The women's team were originally scheduled to begin a seven-day training camp on Wednesday in Traverse City, Michigan, and play an exhibition game against Finland on Saturday but USA Hockey said neither would happen.

USA Hockey also said it anticipated staging a training camp in Plymouth, Michigan, where the week-long tournament begins on March 31.

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"USA Hockey sincerely regrets that fans in Traverse City will not have the opportunity to see the U.S. Women’s National Team train on this occasion," it said in a statement.

Earlier this week, the two sides said they had held productive talks and would continue discussions this week in the hope of reaching a deal.

Asked for an update on the state of discussions, a lawyer for the players told Reuters in an email: "No updates. Same optimism."

The women's team, citing a lack of progress in year-long negotiations, last week threatened not to report for training camp unless adequate progress in the dispute was made.

USA Hockey then imposed a deadline of last Thursday for the team to decide whether to play in the tournament being hosted by the U.S. but the players opted to let that deadline pass.

(Editing by Clare Fallon)