Lindsey Vonn, MIkaela Shiffrin
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Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin lead U.S. roster for World Alpine Skiing Champs

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Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin headline the U.S. team for the World Alpine Skiing Championships starting next week.

Julia Mancuso, a medalist at the last three Olympics who hasn’t raced since March 2015, is also on the 23-skier team headed to St. Moritz, Switzerland, for the Feb. 7-19 championships.

Vonn, who returned this month from knee and arm fractures, will eye her first world title since she swept the downhill and super-G in 2009. Vonn won her second race back Jan. 21 but hasn’t finished better than ninth in her other four starts. She’s expected to race downhill, super-G and super combined at worlds.

Shiffrin is the world’s best female skier, leading the World Cup overall standings, and will seek to become the second woman to win three straight world slalom titles. She’s also a threat in giant slalom, ranking second this season in that discipline. She doesn’t plan to race the other worlds events.

Mancuso was named to the worlds for an eighth straight time despite missing all of last season due to hip surgery. Mancuso took World Cup training runs this month but wasn’t quite ready to race. At worlds, race starters will be finalized the evening prior to each event.

The U.S. team lacks its two biggest male stars — Bode Miller and Ted Ligety.

Miller, the most decorated U.S. Olympic skier with six medals, has not raced since Feb. 5, 2015, when he severed a right hamstring tendon in a world championships super-G crash.

Miller is healthy now but hasn’t raced this season due at least in part to a sponsor dispute. He is expected to return to racing next season, eyeing his sixth Olympics at age 40. Miller will be on the NBC broadcast team during worlds.

Ligety, the three-time reigning world giant slalom champion, is out for the season after undergoing back surgery two weeks ago.

With Miller and Ligety’s absences, the U.S. will have zero past men’s Olympic or world gold medalists at a world championships for the first time since 2001.

That leaves a relatively inexperienced cast supporting Vonn and Shiffrin, looking to build on a five-medal U.S. output at the 2015 World Championships at home in Colorado.

The most accomplished U.S. men on the team are speed racers Travis Ganong and Andrew Weibrecht. Ganong, the 2015 World downhill silver medalist, won a World Cup downhill on Friday for his first victory since his maiden win in December 2014.

Weibrecht owns as many Olympic medals as Vonn (two) but has never won a World Cup race nor been better than ninth at worlds.

All of the above mentioned skiers (other than Shiffrin) are 28 years or older. The U.S. is lacking a pool of young talent. Jackie Wiles, 24, recorded her first World Cup podium on Jan. 15, finishing third in a downhill.

MORE: Vonn: Record more important than Olympic gold

U.S. roster for World Championships
Stacey Cook — Three-time Olympian
Breezy Johnson
Julia Mancuso — Four Olympic medals
Megan McJames — Two-time Olympian
Laurenne Ross — Sochi Olympian
Mikaela Shiffrin — Olympic slalom champion
Resi Stiegler — Two-time Olympian
Lindsey Vonn — 2010 Olympic downhill champion
Jackie Wiles — Sochi Olympian

Michael Ankeny
Bryce Bennett
Tommy Biesemeyer
David Chodounsky — Sochi Olympian
Ryan Cochran-Siegle
Mark Engel
Tommy Ford — Vancouver Olympian
Travis Ganong — 2015 World downhill silver medalist
AJ Ginnis
Jared Goldberg — Sochi Olympian
Tim Jitloff — Sochi Olympian
Robby Kelley
Brennan Rubie
Andrew Weibrecht — Two Olympic medals

Tues. Feb 7
6:00 a.m. – Women’s super G, NBCSN – LIVE

Wed. Feb 8
6:00 a.m. – Men’s super G, NBCSN – LIVE

Fri. Feb 10
7:00 a.m. – Women’s alpine combined, NBCSN – LIVE

Sat. Feb 11
6:00 a.m. – Men’s downhill, nbcsports.com – LIVE
2:30 p.m. – Men’s downhill, NBC

Sun. Feb 12
6:00 a.m. – Women’s downhill, nbcsports.com – LIVE
12:30 p.m. – Women’s downhill, NBC

Mon. Feb 13
7:00 a.m. – Men’s alpine combined, NBCSN – LIVE

Tues. Feb 14
6:00 a.m. – Nations team event, NBCSN – LIVE

Thurs. Feb 16
3:45 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, first run, nbcsports.com – LIVE
7:00 a.m. – Women’s giant slalom, NBCSN – LIVE

Fri. Feb 17
3:45 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom, first run, nbcsports.com – LIVE
7:00 a.m. – Men’s giant slalom, NBCSN

Sat. Feb 18
3:45 a.m. – Women’s slalom, first run, nbcsports.com – LIVE
7:00 a.m. – Women’s slalom, second run, nbcsports.com – LIVE
12:30 p.m. – Women’s slalom, NBC

Sunday, Feb. 19
3:45 a.m. – Men’s slalom, first run, nbcsports.com – LIVE
7:00 a.m. – Men’s slalom, NBCSN

 

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