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Rangers, Stars hire experienced coaches

The New York Rangers and Dallas Stars announced the hiring of coaches Friday, and the Phoenix Coyotes extended the contract of their coach.

The Rangers hired former Vancouver and Montreal coach Alain Vigneault. He was given a five-year deal.

In 11 seasons as an NHL head coach with Montreal and Vancouver, Vigneault is 422-288-35-61 in 806 games.

Lindy Ruff is the new coach of the Stars.

Ruff coached 15 seasons for the Buffalo Sabres before being fired in February, when he was the NHL’s longest active-serving coach with one team.

Dave Tippett will remain with Phoenix. The Coyotes have gone 156-96-42 and made the playoffs three times in Tippett’s four seasons with the team.


Force top qualifier in Funny Car

In Epping, N.H., John Force raced to the qualifying lead in Funny Car at the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway. Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders in their categories at the 11th of 24 NHRA Drag Racing Series events in 2013.


VanMeter gets hit in first pro game

Norwell product Josh VanMeter went 1 for 4 with a single in his professional debut Thursday with the Padres in the Arizona League rookie ball. VanMeter, who was the designated hitter, batted sixth for the Padres, who beat the Mariners 3-2.

Mississippi State, UCLA in CWS finals

In Omaha, Neb., Hunter Renfroe hit a three-run homer off the back wall of the left-field bullpen, and Mississippi State advanced to the College World Series finals with a 4-1 victory over Oregon State. The Bulldogs (51-18) will play in the best-of-three championship round starting Monday against UCLA (47-17), which reached the final series with a 4-1 win North Carolina. The Bruins’ Grant Watson gave up four hits in six innings.


Fever lose player for season

Center Jessica Davenport of the injury-depleted Indiana Fever will have season-ending surgery on a stress fracture in her lower left leg.

Oakland says coach fired over conduct

Oakland University women’s coach Beckie Francis was fired for behavior in April that led to an internal review, the school said. It did not provide details about Francis’ alleged conduct or the review.


Cowboys’ 2nd pick signs contract

Dallas signed tight end Gavin Escobar, the Cowboys’ second-round draft pick.


US loses in U20 World Cup opener

In Istanbul, Spain showed why it is favored to win the Under-20 World Cup, beating the United States 4-1 in an opening game. The Americans’ lone goal was scored by Luis Gil.


American reaches her first final

In Eastbourne, England, American qualifier Jamie Hampton reached the first final of her career when she beat Caroline Wozniacki 6-7 (8), 7-5, 6-3 at Eastbourne. She’ll face Russian Elena Vesnina in the final today.


Warsaw product in USA Juniors finals

In Des Moines, Iowa, Warsaw product Jake Poyner finished fourth and qualified for today’s finals in the 1,500 meter with a time of 3 mintues, 51.75 seconds at the U.S. Junior championships. Carroll product Alex Hess finished 13th at 3:58.02 in the same qualifying race. In the U.S. championships, Tyson Gay won the 100 in 9.75 seconds, the fastest in the world this season.