US skates to an easy win
In Buffalo, N.Y., Casey Mittelstadt got the United States off to a quick start in its title defense at the world junior hockey championship.
Mittelstadt scored twice in the first period, Kieffer Bellows also had two goals and Joseph Woll made 17 saves to earn the shutout as the U.S. opened the tournament with a 9-0 victory over Denmark late Tuesday night.
Max Jones, Kailer Yamamoto, Patrick Harper, Andrew Peeke and Dylan Samberg also scored for the U.S., which had three goals in the first nine minutes.
“We came out ready to go,” said Mittelstadt, the most recent first-round draft choice for the Buffalo Sabres. “We wanted to come out and score some goals and get our team going right away.”
Mittelstadt’s second goal gave the U.S. a 5-0 lead late in the first period.
“Every time Casey steps on the ice, we know everyone is going to be watching him,” Bellows said. “He does some special stuff with the puck and he’s a really special player.”
U.S. coach Bob Motzko remained undefeated in the world junior championships.
After winning last year’s tournament in Montreal, the U.S. is seeking back-to-back gold medals for the first time. Denmark placed fifth last year, its highest finish in history.
Transfer mark is recorded
Liverpool is breaking the world transfer record for a defender by signing Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in a $100 million move.
Following Liverpool’s long-running pursuit of the 26-year-old Netherlands center back, Southampton announced on Wednesday that it accepted the record fee ahead of the January transfer window opening.
“Delighted and honored to have agreed to become a Liverpool FC player,” Van Dijk wrote on Instagram alongside a picture holding a jersey of the club he will join on Jan. 1. “Today is a proud day for me and my family as I join one of the biggest clubs in world football! “
The transfer fee of $94 million could reach $100 million depending on Van Dijk’s achievements at Liverpool.
The scale of the investment signals Liverpool’s determination to plug leaks in the defense that have seen the team fall 17 points behind leader Manchester City into fourth place in the English Premier League.
--Vitaly Mutko bowed to mounting pressure and stepped down as chairman of the 2018 World Cup organizing committee on Wednesday after being dogged by investigations that highlighted his role in a state-backed doping program.
Alexei Sorokin, the chief executive of the committee, will also assume the chairmanship vacated by Mutko. Sorokin also took Mutko’s spot on the FIFA Council this year after he was blocked from seeking re-election due to his promotion to Russian deputy prime minister.
The high-ranking government position ensures Mutko will still retain involvement in logistical planning for the World Cup in June and July.
Mutko’s resignation comes two days after he said he would temporarily step down as president of the Russian Football Union while fighting a lifetime ban from the Olympics.
Investigations by the World Anti-Doping Agency and the International Olympic Committee alleged Mutko was involved in a state-sponsored doping program during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Mutko, who served as Russia’s sports minister during the Winter Olympics, has strongly denied all doping allegations.
The IOC didn’t accuse Mutko of being personally involved in doping, but banned him from the Olympics for life, saying he and his ministry bore overall responsibility for “failure to respect” anti-doping rules.