U.S. women’s ice hockey parts ways with coach

The Washington Post Sunday - - SCOREBOARD - WIN­TER SPORTS NOTES

Long­time NHL de­fense­man Ken Klee is out as the coach of the U.S. women’s hockey team af­ter lead­ing the Amer­i­cans to gold medals at the last two world cham­pi­onships. Who’s in? The play­ers are wait­ing to hear, less than a month be­fore the world cham­pi­onships and less than a year be­fore the 2018 Olympics in South Korea.

Klee is “not our coach right now,” star for­ward Hilary Knight told the As­so­ci­ated Press on Satur­day. “I just know that it was a priv­i­lege to work with him.”

Knight wouldn’t say what rea­sons USA Hockey gave for the change. Rea­gan Carey, the team’s gen­eral man­ager, also de­clined to say why Klee was let go but said the de­ci­sion was part of “de­ter­min­ing what’s needed and mak­ing sure we are ad­vanc­ing as a team.”

Carey said she made a de­ci­sion af­ter the Sochi Olympics, when the Amer­i­cans lost in over­time to Canada in the gold-medal game, to name a head coach event by event. Klee, who played nine sea­sons for the Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals at the start of his 14-year ca­reer, won two straight world cham­pi­onships un­der this sys­tem and twice won the Four Na­tions Cup, most re­cently in Novem­ber.

DOWN­HILL SKI­ING: Lind­sey Vonn went first out of the gate in the World Cup down­hill race, and it nearly paid off.

Vonn was beaten by just 0.07 sec­onds by Italy’s Sofia Gog­gia in a test event ahead of the 2018 Olympics in Jeongseon, South Korea.

The Amer­i­can, who had fin­ished first in both prac­tice runs at the venue that will be used for the PyeongChang Games, had pre­vi­ously only cho­sen to go first on one oc­ca­sion in her ca­reer.

“I chose num­ber one as I thought the snow would get a lit­tle soft later on,” Vonn said. “But I think it got a lit­tle faster be­tween num­bers five and 20.”

Com­pet­ing in just her fourth event since frac­tur­ing her arm in Novem­ber, Vonn clocked what looked like a win­ning time of 1:38:87 on the Jeongseon course.

“I am re­ally happy with my run to­day,” Vonn said. “I def­i­nitely made some mis­takes, but my ski­ing was good.”

ALPINE SKI­ING: Mar­cel Hirscher amazed the world of Alpine ski­ing by lock­ing up an un­prece­dented sixth straight over­all World Cup ti­tle in Kranjska Gora, Slove­nia.

Two days af­ter his 28th birth­day, the Aus­trian won a gi­ant slalom to give him an in­sur­mount­able lead of more than 500 points over his main ri­vals: Kjetil Jan­srud and Hen­rik Kristof­fersen of Nor­way and Alexis Pin­tu­rault of France.

“It’s a bril­liant feel­ing, in­cred­i­ble. The un­doable has be­come doable,” Hirscher said.

He is the first male skier to win six over­all ti­tles.

On the women’s side, only fel­low Aus­trian An­nemarie MoserProell has won six cham­pi­onships, but her ti­tles in the 1970s were in­ter­rupted.

“It’s just in­cred­i­ble what he does. He is the great­est skier of his gen­er­a­tion,” Moser-Proell said.

Other ski rac­ing greats paid trib­ute as well.

CROSS-COUN­TRY SKI­ING: Marit Bjo­er­gen won the 30-kilo­me­ter clas­si­cal race as Nor­way com­pleted a sweep of women’s cross-coun­try ski ti­tles at the Nordic world cham­pi­onships in Lahti, Fin­land.

The Nor­we­gians made an em­phatic state­ment ahead of the PyeongChang Olympics, tak­ing the top four places with strong team tac­tics on the fi­nal sprint of the 30K.

Bjo­er­gen took her record 18th ca­reer gold medal — and fourth of the cham­pi­onships — by 1.9 sec­onds from Heidi Weng, who needed a photo fin­ish to beat Astrid Uhren­holdt Ja­cob­sen into third place.

“It has ex­ceeded all ex­pec­ta­tions. I’m glad it’s over now. It has been so thrilling,” Bjo­er­gen said.

Jes­sica Dig­gins of the United States was the top non-Nor­we­gian in fifth, a place be­hind Ragn­hild Haga. Swe­den’s Char­lotte Kalla had been in the hunt for a medal but broke a ski pole shortly be­fore the fin­ish.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.