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MINNESOTA SPORTS ROUND-UP: World Junior Hockey Championship begins

(Malmo, Sweden)  --  Today marks the official start of the 2014 World Juniors Championships in Malmo, Sweden.  Minnesota is well represented throughout the tournament with University of Minnesota Gophers Men's hockey coach Don Lucia coaching the United States team along with St Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko as one of his assistants. 

Gopher forward Hudson Fasching, Gopher defenseman Brady Skjei and Minnesota State forward Zach Stepan are all on the U.S. team as well.  The tournament begins this morning for the American's as they'll face the Czech Republic at 10:30 a.m.  Team USA is the defending Gold Medal champions.

Here's the United State's tournament schedule for the World Juniors Tournament which begins this morning in Malmo, Sweden:

Thursday, Dec 26    vs Czech Republic, 10:30 a.m. CT

Saturday, Dec 28    vs Slovakia, 6:30 a.m CT

Sunday, Dec 29        vs Germany, 8:00 a.m. CT

Tuesday, Dec 31    vs Canada, 10:30 a.m. CT

Thursday, Jan 2    Quarterfinals

Saturday, Jan 4    Semifinals

Sunday, Jan 5        Medal Games


The Minnesota Vikings are back on the practice field today after taking yesterday off to celebrate Christmas with their families.  The Vikings wrap up a tumultuous 2013 season on Sunday afternoon as they host the Detroit Lions at noon.  It will also mark the end for the Metrodome as this is the final game in its history.  Both Minnesota (4-10-1) and Detroit (7-8) have been eliminated from postseason competition. 


The University of Minnesota football team continues to prepare for the Texas Bowl in Houston, which takes place on tomorrow evening.  The 8-and-4 Gophers play the 6-and-6 Syracuse Orange in the contest.  Friday's game starts at 5 p.m.


The Minnesota Wild limped hard into the holiday break with a pair of 4-1 losses at New York and Philadelphia.  To make matters worse, forward Zach Parise missed just his second game since joining the Wild in Monday's loss to the Flyers.  The team is now in the middle of a mandatory three day holiday pause.  Due to CBA mandate, NHL teams not only can't play on December 24-26th, they can't practice and they can't even travel.  So that means no room for Wild head coach Mike Yeo to crack the whip until the team gets back together on Friday before traveling to Winnipeg to play the Jets on Friday night.  Game time is set for 7 p.m.


Much like the Wild, the MInnesota Timberwolves also stumbled into the holiday break having lost twice in Los Angeles over the weekend to the Lakers on Friday and the Clippers on Sunday.  Their schedule resumes tomorrow when they play host to Washington at 7 p.m. from Target Center.