Amanda Kessel
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Amanda Kessel on first world champs team since 2013

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Amanda Kessel headlines the U.S. women’s hockey roster for the world championship next month in Plymouth, Mich., the latest step in her return from a 2013 concussion.

The full roster is here.

The team, with new coach Robb Stauber, also includes Hilary Knight, a two-time Olympic silver medalist who was MVP of the last two world championships, both won by the U.S.

In fact, the U.S. has won three straight world titles dating to Kessel’s last worlds appearance in 2013 and is going for its first four-peat since the tournament began in 1990. Canada, as always, should be the toughest challenge.

Kessel, 25, hasn’t skated for the U.S. national team in major competition since the Sochi Olympics, missing nearly two years of game play due to the effects of a concussion suffered several months before playing at the 2014 Winter Games.

Kessel returned to complete her University of Minnesota career last winter and debuted professionally for the NWHL’s New York Riveters this season.

Kessel was named to the U.S. roster for the Four Nations Cup in the fall but was replaced at the last minute due to an undisclosed lower-body injury. Kessel did play in a home-and-home series with Canada in December.

She returned to her pro team in January and has tallied a goal or an assist in all seven of her NWHL games this season.

Stauber, a backup Los Angeles Kings goalie in the early 1990s, took over head coaching duties from longtime NHL defenseman Ken Klee last fall. Klee guided the U.S. to the 2015 and 2016 World titles after replacing Sochi Olympic coach Katey Stone.

The U.S. roster for worlds lacks stalwarts Julie Chu, a four-time Olympian, and Jessie Vetter, its No. 1 goalie at the last two Olympics.

Chu hasn’t played for the U.S. since the Sochi Olympics but also hasn’t announced a retirement from international competition. She is now coaching at the college level, while also playing professionally.

Vetter will miss an Olympics or worlds for the first time since the 2006 Torino Winter Games. Vetter recently had a baby but, as of last fall, had not retired despite August reports to the contrary, according to USA Hockey.

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MORE: Knight among Olympians in documentary about gender in sports

Tessa Virtue, Scott Moir recall their childhood dating breakup (video)

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Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir discussed their brief dating relationship early on in their ice-dance partnership in an interview on “Ellen” published Tuesday.

No, they are not currently dating, as was reported when they won their second Olympic ice dance title in PyeongChang.

“If we were, we would announce it here,” Virtue said on “Ellen.”

“We did date,” Moir said, adding jokingly, “In order to advance our partnership, we had to put the hot-and-heavy relationship on the side.”

“Which meant you had to break up with me,” Virtue said.

“I broke up with Tessa, and none of my friends have let me live that down since,” Moir said.

So they did date.

“If you can call it that,” Moir said. “I think mostly our families were laughing at us. They kind of set us up. It was the same thing, actually, when we started ice dancing. They just kind of us put us together. I think it was for their amusement. Then, all of a sudden, 20 years later we’re still doing it, so joke’s on them.”

Virtue and Moir discussed their brief dating period in their 2011 book, Tessa and Scott: Our Journey from Childhood Dream to Gold:

“My sister and Scott’s cousin decided it would be kind of cute if we were ‘dating,'” Tessa says. “And I liked Scott. I don’t know if he liked me, but we just went along with it.”

“Were we not the hot topic by week four, though?” Scott asks rhetorically. “We were the big new couple on campus. We ‘dated’ for eight months. Why do I remember that? Because eight months is a long time for eight and ten years old. We probably only had two phone conversations and I remember my brothers talking me through the phone call with her, I was so nervous. We’d sit there and not say anything. It was a cool thing to do: phone and talk to each other.”

“Dating” was a little strong. It was the summer of 1997, and heading into grades there and five they were too young for even puppy love, so it was just a label that others attached to them, mostly for their own amusement.

Tessa talked about Scott during school hours at Stoneybrook Public School, but when Scott’s friends at Oxbow Public School found out about Tessa, he somehow felt he had to “end” it. His friends called Tessa and quickly handed the phone back to Scott, who blurted, “I don’t want to go out with you any more,” then hung up.

And although for the next dozen years every reporter and skating fan, and eventually, millions of TV viewers, tried to link them as boyfriend and girlfriend, that has been the extend of their romantic history.

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MORE: Best figure skating moments from PyeongChang

Two Italian cities discuss possible Winter Olympic bid

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ROME (AP) — Milan and Turin are in discussions with the Italian Olympic Committee about a possible bid for the 2026 Winter Games.

Turin Mayor Chiara Appendino sent a letter of interest to CONI on Sunday despite divisions in her own party, the populist 5-Star Movement, on a candidacy. Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala met with CONI president Giovanni Malago on Monday.

“I think Milan has everything required but we won’t do anything without a government and its approval,” Sala said Tuesday.

Italy awaits a new government in the next few weeks following a national election this month that yielded no clear majority.

CONI is still recovering from its dropped Rome bid for the 2024 Summer Games, which ended following staunch opposition from Mayor Virginia Raggi, who also represents the 5-Star Movement.

Among the cities which have shown preliminary interest for 2026: Calgary, Canada; Sion, Switzerland; and Sapporo, Japan.

Turin hosted the Winter Games in 2006. The 2026 host will be decided by the International Olympic Committee in Milan in September 2019.

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