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U.S. women’s hockey team and Canada face off in pre-Olympic contests

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) The U.S. women’s national team will play Canada at least four times as part of the Time is Now Tour leading up to the 2018 Winter Olympics.

USA Hockey announced the schedule Tuesday, which also includes the 2017 Four Nations Cup.

The U.S. women, who beat Canada at the world championships last spring, will play the defending Olympic gold medalists Oct. 25 in Boston, Dec. 3 in St. Paul, Minnesota and Dec. 15 in San Jose.

A fourth game is scheduled Nov. 8 as part of the Four Nations Cup featuring Finland and Sweden in Wesley Chapel, Florida, with the championship game Nov. 12 in Tampa. The Americans have won the Four Nations Cup and its predecessor seven times, including the past two years.

The Time is Now Tour full schedule

Day Time (ET) Game Location
Oct. 25 7:30 p.m. USA vs. Canada Boston, Mass.
Nov. 7 7:00 p.m. USA vs. Finland (Four Nations Cup) Wesley Chapel, Fla.
Nov. 8 7:00 p.m. USA vs. Canada (Four Nations Cup) Wesley Chapel, Fla.
Nov. 10 7:00 p.m. USA vs. Sweden (Four Nations Cup) Wesley Chapel, Fla.
Nov. 12 3:30 p.m. 1st & 3rd place games (Four Nations Cup) Wesley Chapel, Fla.
Dec. 3 4:00 p.m. USA vs. Canada St. Paul, Minn.
Dec. 15 10:30 p.m. USA vs. Canada San Jose, Calif.

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What is the Alpine skiing team event?

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The Alpine skiing team event will make its Olympic debut in PyeongChang

How to watch
Friday, Feb. 23, 9:00 p.m. ET
LIVE EVENT STREAM

Olympic skiing has always been an individual sport. Simply, the fastest skier down the mountain wins the gold medal.

But the world’s best skiers will have to rely on their teammates for the first time in the team event, which is making its Olympic debut in PyeongChang.

The team event will feature 16 teams, or nations, of four athletes (two men and two women). The 16 teams will be arranged in a bracket-style, single-elimination format. Think NCAA March Madness.

A skier from each of the two competing nations will race down the course in a series of head-to-head slalom races. The winner will earn a point for his or her team. The team with the most points after four heats will advance. If the teams have the same number of points, the winner will be the nation with the lower combined time of its fastest male and female competitor.

Teams are allowed to have a maximum of two reserves.

France won the team event at the 2017 World Championships. The U.S., competing without Mikaela Shiffrin, was knocked out in the first round by Canada.

“It’s a really fun event,” said American AJ Ginnis. “The atmosphere—the fact that you get to race with girls and guys and it’s a team effort is really cool.”

Men’s snowboard big air preview

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Now that Anna Gasser of Austria has successfully captured the first-ever Olympic gold medal in women’s snowboard big air, it’s almost time to crown the first-ever Olympic champion on the men’s side.

Big air snowboarding has progressed tremendously in recent years, and there’s been a lot of build-up to these Olympics, so expect heavy tricks to come out quickly in the final.

Or as Mark McMorris put it: “There’s probably [going to be] some mind-boggling s—.”

Every time there’s a big air event, there’s always talk about “quads” — a type of trick that features four inverted flips. It’s such a progressive trick that only two riders have landed a quad in competition, only a few others have done it in training, and many are hesitant to even try.

Read the full preview at NBCOlympics.com