Canada replaces injured Olympic men’s hockey head coach Claude Julien

Channel One Cup: Canada vs Sweden
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DAVOS, Switzerland — Jeremy Colliton has been elevated to head coach of Canada’s men’s hockey team for the Beijing Olympics after Claude Julien was sidelined by an injury.

Hockey Canada says Julien slipped on ice and fractured his ribs during training camp in Switzerland, and medical staff determined he won’t be able to fly to China for the Games.

Colliton, who was previously an assistant coach for the team, will take over head coaching duties.

The 37-year-old Colliton was the head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks for parts of four seasons before he was fired in November.

The former center played professionally for six seasons for the New York Islanders and Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League before moving into coaching in the Alberta Junior Hockey League and the Swedish league HockeyAllsvenskan.

Colliton says in a statement he is honored to lead the team and that he’s gained a lot of knowledge from Julien in their short time together.

Julien, 61, replaced Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper as head coach after the NHL withdrew from Olympic participation in December.

Julien was Canada’s head coach at a pre-Olympic tournament in Europe earlier in December.

Julien was the Montreal Canadiens head coach — his second stint at the helm of the club — from 2017 to last February. He also coached the Boston Bruins for 10 seasons, winning the 2011 Stanley Cup, and was an assistant on Canada’s last Olympic gold-medal team in 2014.

Canada’s last Olympic title without NHL players was in 1952. It has never won Olympic gold at a Games in Asia.

Former Vancouver Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins was Canada’s head coach in 2018.

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Mikaela Shiffrin heads to world championships with medal records in sight

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Before Mikaela Shiffrin can hold the World Cup wins record, she can become the most decorated Alpine skier in modern world championships history.

Shiffrin takes a respite from World Cup pursuits for the biennial world championships in France. She is expected to race at least four times, beginning with Monday’s combined.

Shiffrin has a tour-leading 11 World Cup victories in 23 starts this season, her best since her record 17-win 2018-19 campaign, but world championships do not count toward the World Cup.

Shiffrin remains one career victory behind Swede Ingemar Stenmark‘s record 86 World Cup wins until at least her next World Cup start in March.

Shiffrin has been more successful at worlds than at the Olympics and even on the World Cup. She has 11 medals in 13 world championships races dating to her 2013 debut, including making the podium in each of her last 10 events.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

She enters worlds one shy of the modern, post-World War II individual records for total medals (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt won 12) and gold medals (Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson won seven).

Worlds take place exactly one year after Shiffrin missed the medals in all of her Olympic races, but that’s not motivating her.

“If I learned anything last year, it’s that these big events, they can go amazing, and they can go terrible, and you’re going to survive no matter what,” she said after her most recent World Cup last Sunday. “So I kind of don’t care.”

Shiffrin ranks No. 1 in the world this season in the giant slalom (Feb. 16 at worlds) and slalom (Feb. 18).

This year’s combined is one run of super-G coupled with one run of slalom (rather than one downhill and one slalom), which also plays to her strengths. She won that event, with that format, at the last worlds in 2021. The combined isn’t contested on the World Cup, so it’s harder to project favorites.

Shiffrin is also a medal contender in the super-G (Feb. 8), despite starting just two of five World Cup super-Gs this season (winning one of them).

She is not planning to race the downhill (Feb. 11), which she often skips on the World Cup and has never contested at a worlds. Nor is she expected for the individual parallel (Feb. 15), a discipline she hasn’t raced in three years in part due to the strain it puts on her back with the format being several runs for the medalists.

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Lucas Braathen, world’s top male slalom skier, in doubt for world championships

Lucas Braathen
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Norway’s Lucas Braathen, the world’s top male slalom skier this season, is doubtful to compete in the world championships slalom on Feb. 19 after appendix surgery on Tuesday.

“It’s been a tough couple of days fighting after surprisingly finding out about quite an intense infection on my appendix,” Braathen, a 22-year-old soccer convert with a Brazilian mom, posted on social media. “I’ve been through surgery and I’m blessed that it went successfully.”

The Norway Alpine skiing team doctor said Braathen’s recovery will take a few weeks, but there is a small possibility he can make it back for the world championships slalom, which is on the final day of the two-week competition.

Braathen has two slalom wins and one giant slalom win this World Cup season. He will miss Saturday’s slalom in Chamonix, France, the last race before worlds. Countryman Henrik Kristoffersen and Swiss Daniel Yule can overtake him atop the World Cup slalom standings in Chamonix.

Braathen entered last year’s Olympics as the World Cup slalom leader and skied out in the first run at the Games.

ALPINE SKIING WORLDS: Broadcast Schedule

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