Skiing star Cook out for the season 

Sports news: Prefontaine top Canadian at season-opening GS; organizations reveal new hires

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO BY PENTAPHOTO - HAPPIER TIMES Dustin Cook, who was knocked out of the 2015-16 FIS season with a knee injury suffered last week, is shown at the top of the podium last season.
  • File photo by Pentaphoto
  • HAPPIER TIMES Dustin Cook, who was knocked out of the 2015-16 FIS season with a knee injury suffered last week, is shown at the top of the podium last season.

One of Alpine Canada's biggest bright spots in 2014-15 won't have a chance to repeat that success again this year.

Ottawa skier Dustin Cook suffered ligament damage in his right knee during a training run in Austria last week and will undergo surgery next week. In an interview with CTV Ottawa earlier this week, Cook said the injury is something most top skiers will eventually suffer at one point or another, and with a relatively light season ahead, there were worse times for his number to come up.

"It's just part of the game and I've been lucky up until this point," Cook told the station. "There's no Olympics, no World Championships, so if you had to pick one, you'd pick this one."

Cook, 26, won the silver medal in super-G at the World Championships this spring and posted two other podium finishes in super-G at the World Cup level, including a win at Meribel, France.

Prefontaine leads Canucks

Marie-Pier Prefontaine was on pace for a top-10 finish halfway through the season's first FIS grand slalom race in Soelden, Austria on Oct. 24.

After putting up a first run of one minute, 12.74 seconds (1:12.74), Prefontaine found herself in ninth place. She couldn't hold on, however, putting up the 25th-best time in the second run to drop to 15th overall with a combined time of 2:28.00.

The result placed the St.-Saveur, Que. native 3.73 seconds back of winner Federica Brignone of Italy. American Mikaela Shiffrin was second and Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein placed third to round out the podium.

Marie-Michele Gagnon of Lac-Etchemin, Que. was the only other Canadian to make the finals, placing 25th, 4.82 seconds off the winning pace. Fellow Canucks Candace Crawford and Mikaela Tommy also took part, but both failed to make the final.

The two Canadian men who competed on Oct. 25 also came up short as neither Trevor Philp nor Tyler Werry qualified for the giant slalom final.

American Ted Ligety captured the win in a combined time of 2:23.88, besting France's Thomas Fanara and Austria's Marcel Hirscher by 0.15 and 0.17 seconds, respectively.

The FIS alpine season continues with slalom races in Levi, Finland on Nov. 14 and 15.

Biathlon Canada welcomes new high-performance director

Canadian biathletes have made strides in recent years.

Biathlon Canada is hoping its new high-performance director can help keep up the momentum.

The organization announced on Oct. 23 it had hired Nordic specialist Eric de Nys for the role. After spending a decade with Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada in roles such as the women's World Cup team coach and senior development team coach.

In a release, de Nys said he is pumped to come to a program coming off its best season on record after Nathan Smith grabbed a silver at the World Championships and later won his first World Cup race.

"I'm honoured to have the opportunity to work with this exceptional group of athletes and coaches. I am excited to build on the many pieces to the puzzle that are already in place to help guide our program back to the Olympic podium. This presents a great challenge and one I'm excited to take on," he stated.

After leaving the high-performance level following the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, de Nys served as the head coach of the Winsport Junior Cross-Country Academy.

Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada names new CEO

There's a new face at the helm of Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada (CCC).

The organization's board of directors announced on Oct. 26 that Pierre Lafontaine will take over as CEO on Dec. 1.

Lafontaine previously served as the CEO and national coach of Swimming Natation Canada from 2005 to 2013 and recently wrapped up two years as the CEO of Canadian Interuniversity Sport.

In a release, Lafontaine said he sees parallels between the two sports and hopes to draw on past successes in his new role.

"There are many synergies between swimming and cross-country skiing. They are technically-driven sports that have athletes with great engines who are fiercely dedicated to achieving excellence," he stated.

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