U.S., Canada

U.S., Canada women’s hockey to play 6-game series before Sochi Olympics

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The U.S. and Canada’s women’s hockey teams are going to get very familiar with each other ahead of the Sochi Olympics.

The only two nations to win Olympic gold will play at least six times beginning Oct. 12, Hockey Canada announced Thursday.

Here’s the schedule:

Oct. 12, 7 p.m. ET at Burlington, Vt.
Oct. 17, TBD at Boisbriand, Quebec
Third game TBD in Canada
Dec. 20, 8 p.m. ET at Grand Forks, N.D.
Dec. 28, 4 p.m. ET at St. Paul, Minn.
Sixth game TBD in Canada

“The rivalry between Canada’s national women’s team and the U.S. women’s national team is one of the most exciting and intense in hockey,” Hockey Canada chief operating officer Scott Smith said in a press release. “We look forward to traveling south of the border to take on our talented American competitors, and welcoming both the U.S. team and our fans to the province of Quebec for some of the best women’s hockey in the world.”

Canada is coming off a trip to Sochi, where it beat Russia 6-1 on Sunday at 9-1 on Monday. Russia won bronze at the World Championships in April. Those results reinforced how far the U.S. and Canada are past the rest of the world.

Every Olympic and World Championships gold and silver medal has been won by the U.S. and Canada except for the 2006 Olympic silver won by Sweden. Canada beat the U.S. for gold at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, but the U.S. won 3-2 in the gold-medal game at worlds five months ago.

The U.S. and Canada are in the same group for the Sochi Olympics and will play Feb. 12 before a likely gold-medal game rematch eight days later. This is the first time they’ve been grouped together since the first Olympic women’s hockey tournament in 1998, when all the teams were in one group.

By being in the same group, the U.S. and Canada are assured to be in opposite semifinals, should they be the top two in group play.

The U.S. and Canada also played a six-game series leading into the 2010 Olympics. That’s nothing compared to 15 years ago, when the nations played a physical 13-game exhibition series, won 7-6 by Canada.

(h/t @JohnHoweNBC)

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White, Kim lead Olympic snowboard team; gold medalist left off

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The 26-member U.S. Olympic snowboard team was named Tuesday, headlined by Shaun WhiteKelly Clark and Chloe Kim.

White, Clark and Kim — as well as Olympic medalists Jamie Anderson and Lindsey Jacobellis — automatically qualified for the team earlier this season.

The biggest news Tuesday was in the omissions. The following snowboarders failed to make the PyeongChang roster:

Hannah Teter — 2006 Olympic halfpipe champion
Seth Wescott — 2006, 2010 Olympic snowboard cross champion
Nate Holland — Seven-time X Games snowboard cross champion
Alex Deibold — 2014 Olympic snowboard cross bronze medalist

Teter, Wescott, Holland and Deibold all competed in Olympic qualifiers, but none ranked among the top four Americans in their events this season.

MORE: U.S. Olympic roster now more than 200 athletes

The full U.S. Olympic snowboard team:

Halfpipe
Kelly Clark — 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014 Olympian
Arielle Gold — 2014 Olympian
Chloe Kim
Maddie Mastro
Ben Ferguson
Chase Josey
Jake Pates
Shaun White — 2006, 2010, 2014 Olympian

Kim is the gold-medal favorite. White is among the favorites along with Scotty James of Australia and Ayumu Hirano of Japan. The U.S. women could sweep the podium.

Big Air/Slopestyle
Jamie Anderson — 2014
Jessika Jenson — 2014
Hailey Langland
Julia Marino
Chris Corning
Red Gerard
Kyle Mack
Ryan Stassel — 2014

The U.S. women could sweep either the big air or slopestyle podium, too. The U.S. swept the first Olympic slopestyle titles in Sochi with Anderson and the now-retired Sage Kotsenburg. Big air makes its Olympic debut in PyeongChang.

Snowboard Cross
Faye Gulini — 2010, 2014
Lindsey Jacobellis — 2006, 2010, 2014
Rosie Mancari
Meghan Tierney
Nick Baumgartner — 2010, 2014
Jonathan Cheever
Mick Dierdorff
Hagen Kearney

Jacobellis is a five-time world champion and 10-time X Games champion but owns just one Olympic medal, and it’s a silver. She finished second and then won the next two World Cups to start this season to clinch her fourth Olympic berth.

Parallel Giant Slalom
A.J. Muss
Mike Trapp

The U.S. last earned an Alpine snowboarding medal in 2006 and isn’t favored to make the podium in PyeongChang.

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Larry Nassar to receive sentence Wednesday

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LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A judge said a Michigan sports doctor who assaulted Olympic gymnasts and other female athletes will get his sentence Wednesday, the seventh day of an extraordinary court hearing.

More than 150 women and girls have talked in court about being molested by Larry Nassar or had their statements read by others. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina will hear a few more Wednesday before sentencing Nassar in Lansing, Michigan.

He faces a minimum prison term of 25 to 40 years for assaulting victims with his hands. Nassar worked for Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, which trains the best gymnasts.

An 18-year-old, Emily Morales, said she believes in forgiveness. She looked at Nassar and asked him to apologize. He did. She replied with, “Thank you.”

Also Tuesday, 2010 World Championships silver medalist Mattie Larson described being sexually assaulted by Nassar and gave an unflattering portrayal of the Karolyi training ranch in Texas.

Larson said the ranch was very isolated (full video here).

She called it the “perfect environment” for Nassar and abusive coaches “to thrive.” USA Gymnastics last week said the ranch would no longer serve as the national training center.