Sports Digest: Plans to host World Cup of Hockey in February abandoned


Russia’s war in Ukraine has scuppered plans for an ice hockey world championship this winter.

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association on Friday abandoned plans to host a February 2024 World Championship as hoped, saying in a joint statement “it’s not feasible in the current environment.”

Since the country’s invasion of Ukraine earlier this year and the ongoing war there, there has been uncertainty about what to do with players from Russia. Some countries didn’t want Russians to participate, even if they compete under a different name and without national team uniforms, as was done at the last Olympics as punishment for state-sponsored doping.

The players want the world’s best to take part – a group that includes a number of Russians – and that has led to an impasse as time is running out to pull off a World Cup.

The league and union said they hope to host the event in February 2025 and will continue to plan to do so. The delay gives the league and players time to think.

NHL: The Columbus Blue Jackets lost Zach Werenski for the remainder of the season with a severed shoulder and torn labrum, the team announced.

Werenski awkwardly collided with the ties while trying to score against the Flyers’ Travis Konecny ​​late in the first half of Thursday’s game. Blankenburg was injured midway through the third period but played the rest of the game, scoring an empty net to seal the Blue Jackets’ 5-2 win over Philadelphia.


PGA TOUR: Tony Finau ended his opening round with a string of birdies, then took the momentum by making 10 birdies to match his career low with an 8-under-62 to build a big lead at the Houston Open.

He was among the early starters at 13-under 127 and four shots ahead of Patrick Rodgers (63).

Alex Noren, part of the three-way tie for the 18-hole lead, was at 8 under with three holes to play when poor weather forecast halted play for the remainder of Friday. Noren was facing a 40-foot eagle putt when play resumed on Saturday. Masters champion Scottie Scheffler was also in the late wave and was 5 under through 13 holes.


FORMULA ONE: Kevin Magnussen shocked F1 in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo by taking pole position for the Interlagos sprint race.

It was the first pole after 142 races for the Dane, who was celebrating with faces at the cameras before the end of the third qualifying session. He then jumped onto his car and punched the air in the drizzle. He emotionally hugged his Haas team boss Günther Steiner.

World champion Max Verstappen finished second, almost two tenths of a second behind. Third was George Russell from Mercedes.


BILLIE JEAN KING CUP: The unannounced Czech Republic angered the United States and reached the semi-finals in Glasgow, Scotland for the first time in four years.

The Czechs meet Switzerland in Glasgow on Saturday after the Swiss defeated Canada 2-1. The other group winners Australia and Great Britain meet in the other semi-final.

Coco Gauff in 7th place and Danielle Collins in 14th place should roll over the Czechs in their singles, but neither could win a set.

Gauff won all three previous matches against Katerina Siniakova, but lost 7:6 (1), 6:1. Gauff made 39 unforced errors in her fifth straight singles loss.

Collins was overwhelmed by Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, 6-3. The latter won eight games in a row, trailing 3-1.

NEXT GENERATION ATP FINALS: Jiří Lehečka scored the biggest win of his season when he defeated Dominic Stricker and reached the final in Milan.

Fifth-seeded Lehečka was dominant from the start as he led in a 4-1 4-3(4) 2-4 4-1 win in 82 minutes.

The Czech meets fourth-placed Brandon Nakashima of the United States and defeats third-placed Jack Draper of Great Britain 4-3(6) 1-4 4-2 4-3(5).


FIRST LEAGUE: Jurgen Klopp has been suspended for one game on the touchline after being sent off in Liverpool’s win against Manchester City last month.

The Football Association of England successfully appealed the decision to fine Klopp solely for his outburst at an official in the highly charged Premier League game at Anfield.

Klopp was initially fined £30,000 by an independent oversight commission for his conduct on October 16.

The FA thought that was too lenient and an independent appeals committee suspended Klopp from the sidelines with immediate effect.

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