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CALGARY -- John Kuceras career was shorter than he wanted but he leaves alpine ski racing knowing he achieved two firsts for Canada. Ozzie Albies Jersey . The first Canadian man to win a world downhill championship and the Canadian skier to stand atop the World Cup podium in Lake Louise, Alta., announced his retirement from ski racing Thursday. Kucera won the mens downhill title in Val-dIsere, France, in 2009. He earned three career World Cup medals in super-G, including gold in Lake Louise in 2006. "Im just really proud I managed to take a very short career and do big things with it," the 29-year-old Calgarian said at Alpine Canadas headquarters in his hometown. "It was a great ride. It really was. "I did some things in this country that I was the first to do and Im really proud of that." Kuceras first four years on the national team were successful and promising. But a broken leg followed by a frustrating inner ear condition sidelined him for four of the last five seasons and also kept him from competing in two Winter Olympics. Vestibular neuritis -- an inner ear condition causing dizziness and nausea -- struck during a training camp in Chile last September and made it impossible to race through gates at 130 kilometres per hour. Kucera wasnt able to get back on skis to race at the Winter Games in Sochi in February. The symptoms still linger and the uncertainty over how long theyll remain, combined with an opportunity to join the coaching staff of the national development team, steered Kucera towards retirement. "Truth be told, Im not 100 per cent yet," he said. "I think my body just told me it was time to start doing something else. "This vestibular neuritis is tough because there is no time line. I could be good by July, but I could be good by next July and really, nobody can give me that answer. Who wouldve thought the thing that would have finally took me out was waking up dizzy one morning?" Super giant slalom, or super-G, is shorter than downhill but there are more gates on the course. The discipline requires a combination of speed and technical ability. At five foot nine and 185 pounds, Kucera wasnt as beefy as the top downhill racers early in his career, so he excelled in super-G. But on Feb. 7, 2009, he bested such heavyweights as Hermann Maier of Austria, Didier Cuche of Switzerland, Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway and American Bode Miller to win on Val-dIseres difficult slope. "Val-dIsere was a course that obviously played into a lot of my strengths, very technical, very steep," Kucera recalled. "That being said, I felt like every year I was becoming a better and better downhiller. "I just hit the right track, the right conditions and the right time of my career to become a champion there." Kucera was the first Canadian to win in 26 years of World Cup racing at Lake Louise when he captured super-G gold in 2006. He drew the No. 1 start bib, so after crossing the finish line, the 22-year-old stood nervously in front of television cameras watching as skier after skier came down the mountain. "I remember being really cold. I think it was -35 C that day," Kucera said. "Coming down, having that great run, freezing, watching a lot of the people I looked up to growing up and me beating them, it was pretty exciting." Kucera dedicated that victory to his former coach and friend, Jason Lapierre, who was hit by a car while biking and died earlier that year. Kuceras successes coincided with those of teammates Erik Guay, Manny Osborne-Paradis and Jan Hudec. The "Canadian Cowboys" have given the national mens downhill team depth it hasnt had since Steve Podborski and Ken Read headlined the "Crazy Canucks" of the 1980s. Guay won the mens downhill title again for Canada in 2011, while Hudec took silver in 2007. Guay passed Podborski as Canadas most decorated World Cup racer with 22 career medals. Guay also won the overall super-G title in 2010. Osborne-Paradis collected nine World Cup medals, including three gold, between 2006 and 2010. Hudec tied for third and won Olympic bronze in super-G in Sochi. "As a group, now with Jans medal at the Olympics, weve really done it all," Kucera said. "The only thing I guess you could say we havent done is we dont have an Olympic champion yet. "As a group, we pulled off some special things. Weve kind of superceded the Crazy Canuck era and did something great. Weve set the bar pretty high for the next group coming up, but I think thats where it needs to be." Kucera won two World Cup medals at Lake Louise -- he took silver there in 2008 -- but the mountain was disastrous for him in the first race of 2009-10. He badly broke his left leg in the super-G and erased his chance to race in Whistler, B.C., at the 2010 Winter Games. Rehabilitation and subsequent setbacks kept him off his race skis for the next three seasons. "Obviously the last four years hadnt gone exactly gone the way I would have liked them to, but that being said, I felt the time was right to step away now," Kucera said. "Ive had a good run as an athlete. "Im walking away relatively healthy. Thats a good thing. Im excited and passionate about the next group, the guys Im going to be working with because Im going to be working with a pretty exciting group of 17- to 19-year-olds." Kuceras parents, Jan and Zdena, emigrated to Canada from the former Czechoslovakia in the early 1980s before John was born. Jan worked with the ski patrol at nearby Nakiska. John and his brother James began skiing at an early age. Mike Foltynewicz Jersey .Commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday it is inevitable that the league will one day take after European sports and have sponsor names on team jerseys. Dale Murphy Jersey . Viewers in the Canadiens region can watch the game on TSN at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt and listen on TSN 690. The Canadiens have won three in a row and four of their last five games and recently put the finishing touches on a 3-1-0 road trip. http://www.thebravesteamshop.com/Braves-Tyler-Flowers-Kids-Jersey/ . The Blue Jackets got goals from Cam Atkinson, Nick Foligno, Boone Jenner and R.J. Umberger and Curtis McElhinney posted his first shutout since 2011 in a 4-0 victory on Friday night.HOUSTON -- Dwight Howard didnt think he was aggressive enough in Houstons two losses to Sacramento this season and vowed to attack from the beginning when the Rockets faced the Kings on Wednesday night. Howards plan worked. He had 17 points and 10 rebounds by halftime on the way to a 26-point night to help the Rockets cruise to their third straight win, a 119-98 victory over the Kings. Howard also had 13 rebounds and four blocks and James Harden added 24 points and nine assists before the pair went to the bench for the fourth quarter. "The last couple of games against those guys, I didnt come out aggressive like I needed to on both ends of the floor," Howard said. "Ive been looking at some film and I wanted to get off to a better start. Its not just about scoring. Its defence and things like that." The Rockets took the lead midway through the first quarter and didnt trail again. The Kings struggled after losing top scorers Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins to injuries before halftime. Gay, who tied a career high with 41 points on Tuesday night, injured his left Achilles tendon in the first quarter and Cousins sprained his left ankle in the second. Sacramento coach Mike Malone didnt have any more information on the injuries after the game and said that theyd know more on Thursday. "It was a big loss to lose both of those guys in the first half," Malone said. "Unfortunately, those other guys that were able to play didnt respond. We got our (tails) kicked tonight and were a no-excuse team ... so the fact that we guarded no one tonight has nothing to do with them not being able to play in the second half." Derrick Williams scored 22 points with 11 rebounds and Isaiah Thomas added 20 points for the Kings. Houston led by 15 points entering the fourth quarter and padded its lead with Harden and Howard relaxing on the bench in their warm-up shirts. They used a 15-3 spurt in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the fourth to make it 103-76. Sacramento missed eight shots, including three layups in that span, and its only points came on free throws by Williams. The Rockets were up by nine points early in the third quarter before scoring 10 straight points to stretch their advantage to 65-46. Chandler Parsoons and Patrick Beverley both had 3-pointers in that stretch. Dansby Swanson Jersey. Jimmer Fredette made a 3-pointer that cut Houstons lead to 11 points with about eight minutes left in the second quarter. Cousins went down on Sacramentos next possession when he was knocked to the court on a hard foul by Beverley as he drove to the basket. Beverley stood over him for a second while he was down and Beverley received a technical. Cousins entered the game leading the team in scoring (23.1) and rebounding (11.7). He scored just two points before getting hurt, snapping a streak of 30 straight games with at least 10 points. The Rockets used a 6-2 spurt after that to extend their lead to 44-29. Sacramento got within eight two times after that in the second quarter, but Howard scored six points with two alley-oop dunks in the last 1 1/2 minutes of the first half to help the Rockets lead 55-44 at the break. The Kings were up by five points early before Houston used a 14-5 run to take a 21-17 lead with about three minutes left in the first quarter. Gay, who entered the game averaging 20.2 points, was injured at the beginning of that run, which was powered by eight points from Harden. Houston coach Kevin McHale was impressed with Hardens work on Wednesday night. "He started getting to the rim," McHale said. "I thought we were settling for a lot and playing East and West. We told them to get to the hole and put pressure on the basket and they did." Gay has started all 21 games for the Kings since being traded from Toronto on Dec. 9. Aaron Gray received a flagrant foul soon after that when he grabbed Harden as he was heading to the basket. Harden made both free throws as part of an 8-2 run that put the Rockets up 29-22 at the end of the first. Omri Casspi added 20 points and tied a career-high with 12 rebounds and Parsons added 19 points with 10 rebounds. NOTES: Houstons Terrence Jones missed his second straight game with a deep thigh bruise and Ronnie Brewer sat out with a sore calf. ... Sacramentos Quincy Acy and Harden both received technical fouls on the same play in the third quarter. ... Thomas has made at least one 3-pointer in 35 straight games, tying the fourth-longest streak in franchise history. Cheap Blackhawks Jerseys Cheap Avalanche Jerseys Cheap Team USA Hockey Jerseys Cheap Stars Jerseys Cheap Wild Jerseys Cheap Predators Jerseys Cheap Blues Jerseys Cheap Jets Jerseys Cheap Ducks Jerseys Cheap Coyotes Jerseys Cheap Flames Jerseys Cheap Oilers Jerseys Cheap Kings Jerseys Cheap Sharks Jerseys Cheap Canucks Jerseys Cheap Golden Knights Jerseys Cheap Winter Classic Jerseys ' ' '