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U.S. captain, head coach named for men’s hockey world championship

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After an Olympics without NHL players, the U.S. men’s hockey team brought back star power by naming the first member of its world championship team — Patrick Kane, the most accomplished player to suit up for worlds in at least a decade.

Kane, a two-time Olympian and 2010 silver medalist, was named captain for next month’s tournament in Denmark. More roster members are expected to be named later this week.

USA Hockey also named Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill as the world championship head coach, succeeding Olympic coach Tony Granato of the University of Wisconsin.

Kane and Blashill were available as their NHL teams did not make the Stanley Cup playoffs that start this week.

Kane played in one previous world championship — in 2008, following his rookie season with the Chicago Blackhawks when he earned the Calder Trophy. He co-led the U.S. at that world championship with 10 points.

Several players have gone more than 10 years between world championship appearances for the U.S., including Hockey Hall of Famers Mike Modano (12 years) and Phil Housley (11 years). Kane is the most accomplished American on a world championship team since Modano’s last appearance in 2005.

Blashill, coming off his third season guiding the Red Wings, was also head coach at 2017 Worlds, where the U.S. lost to Finland in the quarterfinals.

Blashill’s assistants are 2014 Olympic head coach Dan BylsmaDon Granato (Tony’s brother and Blackhawks assistant), and Seth Appert.

The U.S. last won worlds in 1960.

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Eliud Kipchoge sets next marathon

Eliud Kipchoge
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Eliud Kipchoge will race the London Marathon on April 26 before he is expected to defend his Olympic title in Japan on Aug. 9, which would mark the shortest break between marathons of his career.

Kipchoge, who in his last 26.2-mile effort became the first person to break two hours at the distance, won all four of his London Marathon starts, including breaking the course record in 2016 and 2019.

His time this past April 28 — 2:02:37 — is the third-fastest time in history. Kipchoge has the world record of 2:01:39 set at the 2018 Berlin Marathon. His sub-two-hour marathon in Vienna on Oct. 12 was not in a record-eligible race.

Kipchoge’s previous shortest break between marathons came in 2016, when he also ran London and the Olympics. The Olympics will be two weeks earlier in 2020 than in 2016.

Kipchoge, 35, has won 11 of 12 marathons since moving to road racing after failing to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic track team.

He has yet to race the two most prestigious marathons in the U.S. — Boston and New York City — but has said they are on his bucket list.

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Canadians become first female doubles luge team in World Cup

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WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) — Caitlin Nash and Natalie Corless made luge history Saturday, becoming the first female team to compete in a World Cup doubles race.

The 16-year-olds from Whistler combined to finish 22nd in a field of 23 sleds, though that seemed largely irrelevant. There have been four-woman teams in what is typically called four-man bobsledding, but luge has never seen a pairing like this until now.

The German sled of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won the race in 1 minute, 16.644 seconds. Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finished second and the Russian team of Vsevolod Kashkin and Konstantin Korshunov placed third for their first medal of the season.

The U.S. team of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman placed 11th.

But the story was the Canadian teens, who qualified for the World Cup event on Thursday. They were nearly a half-second behind any other finisher and almost 2.7 seconds back of Eggert and Benecken. But they’ll forever be able to say that they were winning the race at one point — a technicality because they were the first ones down the hill at the Whistler Sliding Center, but accurate nonetheless.

The only sled they beat was the Italian team of Ivan Nagler and Fabian Malleier, who crashed in the second heat.

There are women’s singles and men’s singles races on the World Cup luge circuit, but there is no rule saying doubles teams must be composed of two men. There have been more female doubles racers at the junior level in recent years, and it was generally considered to be just a matter of time before it happened at the World Cup level.

That time became Saturday.

Canada had the chance to qualify a second sled into the doubles field because some teams typically on the circuit chose to skip this weekend’s stop, and Nash and Corless got into by successfully finishing a Nations Cup qualifying race on Thursday.

They were 11th in that race out of 11 sleds, more than a full second behind the winner and nearly a half-second behind the closest finisher. But all they had to do was cross the line without crashing to get into Saturday’s competition, and earned their spot in the luge history books as a result.

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