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Helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant was only 30 metres from clear skies: probe – CTV News

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LOS ANGELES —
LOS ANGELES — A witness to the deadly crash of a helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and eight others said it sounded normal just before slamming into a hillside and wreckage at the scene showed no sign of engine failure, federal investigators said in a report released Friday.

The Jan. 26 crash occurred in cloudy conditions and experts said the “investigative update” from the National Transportation Safety Board reinforces the notion the pilot became disoriented and crashed while trying to get to clear skies around Calabasas, northwest of Los Angeles.

The veteran pilot, Ara Zobayan, came agonizingly close to finding his way out of the clouds.

He told air traffic control he was climbing to 1,219 metres. He ascended to 701 metres, just 30 metres from what camera footage later reviewed by the NTSB showed was the top of the clouds.

But rather than continuing higher Zobayan began a high-speed descent and left turn in rapidly rising terrain. He slammed into the hillside at more than 290 km/h and was descending at 1,219 metres per minute.

“If you exit the bottom of the clouds at 4000 feet (1219.20 metres) per minute at that high speed, you’ve certainly lost control of the aircraft,” air safety consultant Kipp Lau said. He said Bryant’s chopper could have emerged from the clouds in just 12 more seconds, assuming it was ascending at 152 metres per minute.

“Once you break out of the clouds it’s clear. Everything lines up with the body,” Lau said. “Now you have a real horizon.”

Mike Sagely, a helicopter pilot in the Los Angeles area with 35 years of flying experience, said the aircraft’s last moments suggest Zobayan had started to execute a manoeuvre designed to pop above the clouds by flying up and forward.

“When he went into the clouds, he had a full on emergency,” Sagely said.

When pilots try to turn instead of sticking with the pop-up manoeuvr, “probably in the neighbourhood of 80 to 90% of the time, it’s catastrophic,” he said.

The crash occurred as the group was flying to a girls basketball tournament at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy. He coached his 13-year-old daughter Gianna’s team. She and two teammates were among the nine people killed.

The deaths shook Los Angeles and the sporting world. Within hours, thousands had gathered outside Staples Center, where Bryant starred for the Lakers, and began a makeshift memorial that became a massive display of flowers, candles, personal notes, basketballs and other mementos.

A public memorial for Bryant and the other victims is scheduled for Feb. 24 at Staples. The date 2/24 corresponds with the No. 24 jersey he wore and the No. 2 worn by Gianna.

The NTSB’s report was a compilation of information and data about the flight, helicopter and pilot. It’s likely to take a year for the NTSB to issue a report about the cause.

Zobayan was a regular pilot for Bryant and the chief pilot for Island Express Helicopters, with more than 8,200 hours of flight time. He was certified to fly solely using instruments — a more difficult rating to attain that allows pilots to fly at night and through clouds when the ground isn’t visible — and was a pilot to other celebrities including Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard and Kylie Jenner.

During the flight with Bryant’s group, Zobayan did not report any equipment problems and sounded calm while communicating to air traffic controllers. His final transmission said he was going to climb above the clouds. Eight seconds after reaching peak altitude, he started the fateful descent.

A witness told the NTSB the hillside where the crash occurred was shrouded in mist when he heard the helicopter approaching. It sounded normal and he then saw the blue-and-white aircraft emerge from the fog moving forward and down. Within 2 seconds it slammed into the hillside just below him.

Former Island Express pilot Kurt Deetz, who regularly flew Bryant to games at the Staples Center, said reading the NTSB’s report reinforced how dangerously fast the helicopter was travelling in conditions that had prompted the Los Angeles Police Department and the county sheriff to ground their copters.

“Normally in those conditions, you’re pretty cautious. You’re proceeding slowly,” Deetz said.

The impact tore the helicopter apart and all aboard died from blunt force trauma. The aircraft’s instrument panel was destroyed and most of the devices were displaced. The flight controls were broken and suffered fire damage.

Investigators believe that since a tree branch at the crash site was cut, the engines were working and rotors turning at the time of impact. All four of the helicopter’s blades had similar damage, the report stated.

The 50-year-old Zobayan’s most recent flight review included training on inadvertently flying into bad weather conditions. It covered how to recover if the aircraft’s nose is pointed too far up or down, and what to do if the helicopter banks severely to one side. He earned satisfactory grades in the review, which took place in May 2019.

Deetz said Zobayan previously had told him that he did not have actual experience flying in clouds, despite being certified. Deetz said that isn’t uncommon.

Bryant’s helicopter did not have a device called the Terrain Awareness and Warning System, known as TAWS, that signals when an aircraft is in danger of hitting ground. The NTSB has recommended the system be mandatory for helicopters but the Federal Aviation Administration only requires it for air ambulances. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Brad Sherman, both California Democrats, have called for the FAA to mandate the devices.

While NTSB Member Jennifer Homendy has said it’s not clear if the warning system would have averted the crash, aviation expert Gary Robb said Friday’s report highlights the need to equip all helicopters with the warning system.

“If this helicopter had had TAWS, Mr. Bryant and the rest of the passengers would be alive today,” said Robb, a lawyer who has written a textbook about helicopter crash litigation.

The others killed included Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri and daughter Alyssa; Bryant’s friend and assistant coach, Christina Mauser; and Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, 14. A public memorial for the Altobelli family will be held Monday at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.

Associated Press Writers John Antczak and Justin Pritchard in Los Angeles, Bernard Condon in New York and David Koenig in Dallas and Business Writer Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed.

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The most compelling matchups to watch on Monday at the National Bank Open – Sportsnet.ca

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After a weekend of qualifying in extreme heat, the National Bank Open picks up steam on Monday with the main draw beginning for the women in Toronto and the men in Montreal. 

While the schedule looks fun, the only issue could be the weather, with rain in the forecast in both cities. 

Here’s a look at the most compelling matchups at both venues on opening day. 

Women’s headliner

No. 13 Leylah Annie Fernandez (Canada) vs. Qualifier Storm Sanders (Australia), 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT 

Fernandez, from Laval, Que., plays her first match since suffering a Grade 3 stress fracture in her right foot in a quarterfinal loss at the French Open on May 31. 

The 19-year-old Canadian has a favourable draw, facing a player ranked outside the top 200. 

Sanders hasn’t won a match in a main draw this year. 

Men’s headliner

Denis Shapovalov (Canada) vs. Alex de Minaur (Australia), 6:30 p.m. ET / 3:30 p.m. PT 

Shapovalov, from Richmond Hill, Ont., has slipped to No. 22 in the rankings – as of Sunday — after losing seven of his past eight matches. 

De Minaur was one spot above him at No. 21. 

The Australian is 2-0 lifetime against Shapovalov, who hopes to replicate his 2017 Montreal magic when he stunned Rafael Nadal.

Other highlights

Serena Williams (U.S.) vs. ‘Lucky Loser’ Nuria Parrizas-Diaz (Spain), Approximately 1 p.m. ET / 10 a.m. PT 

The 40-year-old Williams will play an official singles match for just the second time this year on Monday. 

After losing in the first round at Wimbledon, the 23-time Grand Slam champ begins hard-court prep for the U.S. Open against a player ranked outside the top 50. 

Last time in Toronto in 2019, Williams made the final before retiring because of injury in the first set against Canada’s Bianca Andreescu. 

Andy Murray (Great Britain) vs. No. 10 Taylor Fritz (U.S.), Not before 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT 

With Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal not in Montreal, Murray is the lone player from that familiar foursome to be taking the court. 

Now 35, Murray will be an underdog against Fritz. The Brit did reach a final in June at the Stuttgart Open, but then exited in the second round of Wimbledon at home. 

Fritz has been battling a foot injury and stopped playing a match last week in the third set in Washington, where temperatures were very high. 

Fritz has said the injury has prevented him from doing his usual fitness routine. 

Full women’s schedule

Centre court (starts at 11 a.m. ET) 

[15] Simona Halep (ROU) vs. [LL] Donna Vekic (CRO)  

[LL] Nuria Parrizas Diaz (ESP) vs Serena Williams (USA)  

Sloane Stephens (USA) vs. Sofia Kenin (USA)  

Night session (starts at 7 p.m. ET) 

{Q] Storm Sanders (AUS) vs. [13] Leylah Annie Fernandez (CAN)  

Jill Teichmann (SUI) vs. [WC] Venus Williams (USA)  

National Bank Grandstand Court (starts at 11 a.m. ET) 

Elena Rybakina (KAZ) vs. [Q] Marie Bouzkova (CZE)  

Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) vs. [14] Karolina Pliskova (CZE)  

Alize Cornet (FRA) vs. Caroline Garcia (FRA)  

Petra Kvitova (CZE) vs. Alison Riske-Amritraj (USA)  

[WC] Katherine Sebov (CAN) vs. Yulia Putintseva (KAZ)  

Court 1 (starts at 11 a.m. ET) 

Beatriz Haddad Maia (BRA) vs. Martina Trevisan (ITA)  

[16] Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) vs. Anhelina Kalinina (UKR)  

[Q] Asia Muhammad (USA) vs. Madison Keys (USA)  

Court 4 (12 p.m. ET) 

[8] A. Guarachi (CHI) / A. Klepac (SLO) vs. [WC] R. Marino (CAN) / C. Zhao (CAN)

Full Montreal Schedule

Centre Court (starts at 12 p.m.) 

Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs. Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN) 

Not before 2 p.m. ET: [WC] Andy Murray (GBR) vs. [10] Taylor Fritz (USA) 

Night session (starts at 6:30 p.m. ET) 

Denis Shapovalov (CAN) vs. Alex de Minaur (AUS) 

[12] Diego Schwartzman (ARG) vs. Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (ESP) 

Rogers Court (starts at 12 p.m. ET) 

Francisco Cerundolo (ARG) vs. Karen Khachanov (RUS) 

Alexander Bublik (KAZ) vs. Jenson Brooksby (USA) 

[Q] Hugo Gaston (FRA) vs. [Q] Jack Draper (GBR) 

Night session (starts at 6:30 p.m. ET) 

[Q] Marcos Giron (USA) vs. [14] Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) 

[Q] Fabio Fognini (ITA) vs. Holger Rune (DEN) 

Court 9 (starts at 12 p.m. ET) 

Alex Molcan (SVK) vs. Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 

G. Dimitrov (BUL) / A. Rublev vs. M. Ebden (AUS) / M. Purcell (AUS) 

B. Bonzi (FRA) / G. Monfils (FRA) vs. [WC] V. Pospisil (CAN) / J. Sinner (ITA) 

[Q] Adrian Mannarino (FRA) vs. [Q] Arthur Rinderknech (FRA) 

Court 5 (starts at 1 p.m. ET) 

[6] T. Puetz (GER) / M. Venus (NZL) vs.H. Hurkacz (POL) / J. Zielinski (POL) 

J. Murray (GBR) / B. Soares (BRA) vs. D. Evans (GBR) / J. Peers (AUS) 

Sportsnet broadcast schedule

Women’s: 11 a.m. ET (Sportsnet ONE / SN NOW); 6:30 p.m. ET (SN NOW) 

Men’s: 12 p.m. ET (Sportsnet / SN NOW); 6:30 p.m. ET (Sportsnet ONE) 

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Canada’s $30 billion online gambling market

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Canada's $30 billion online gambling market

Canada has traditionally been a first mover in North America when it comes to the more progressive areas of legal reform. The nation was among the first in the world to legalize recreational cannabis, and sports betting was legalized in 1985, more than 30 years before the US Supreme Court struck down PASPA.

However, one area where Canada lags behind is when it comes to placing wagers online. Reforms are finally being seen this year in the shape of Ontario launching a new iGaming market in April and the federal ban on single-event sports betting being lifted last year. It’s not before time, however, as the Canadian online casino market alone is estimated to be worth more than $30 billion per year.

 

The popularity of online casinos

Market research carried out last year showed that seven out of 10 Canadians who gambled did so online. That’s an astonishing figure for a country that, at the time, had no online gambling infrastructure of its own. It left the field completely open for offshore operators, and a glance at Gamble Online (https://www.gambleonline.co/en-ca/) shows there are plenty out there actively targeting Canadian real money casino gamers. Many, for example, accept Canadian dollar or offer other viable alternatives such as Bitcoin.

Slot games dominate in terms of both popularity and the total amount wagered, which is no great surprise given the thousands of different games there are in this category. Roulette is the top-rated table game among Canadians, with blackjack and poker following closely behind.

The fact that Canadian gamblers know what they like and where to find it means there’s no guarantees as to when or even if they will switch from the offshore providers to Canadian online casinos as and when they become available. Ontario residents will provide the first clue.

 

Advantages of using a licensed casino

The advantages of switching from an unlicensed offshore operator to a licensed one are plain to see. There is better consumer protection if something goes wrong, such as the casino going bankrupt or having a major data breach. There are more payment options, as banks will have no qualms about dealing with a locally licensed provider. Finally, and especially now, in what are still the early days, there are numerous bonuses and promotions as the casinos compete for your business.

Of course, using a casino that is licensed to operate in Ontario helps to generate tax revenue, too, which ultimately works to everybody’s benefit.

 

What about the downsides?

Casinos have to meet certain requirements in order to be granted a Canadian license. This is logical, but the regulator needs to take a pragmatic approach. In Germany and the Netherlands, gaming has become so tightly controlled in terms of wagering limits and the speed of slot games that some gamblers have been voting with their feet and going back to the unlicensed offshore alternatives.

 

It is still too early to draw definitive conclusions, but the indications are that Ontario has balanced things better, only prohibiting autoplay and placing a 2.5 second minimum spin time on slots.

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2022 IIHF World Junior Championship – Schedule, rosters, results – ESPN

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The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship was postponed in December due to an outbreak of COVID-19. The tournament will restart on Aug. 9 in Edmonton, Alberta, and conclude with the gold-medal and bronze-medal games on Aug. 20.

Nine out of 10 teams that participated in the earlier event will be back, including Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. The team from Russia has been excluded because of that nation’s invasion of Ukraine, and Latvia will take its place in Group A.

Follow along as the tournament proceeds, with the game schedule and results, along with rosters for all 10 nations.

Game schedule

Note: All times Eastern.

Aug. 9

Czech Republic vs. Slovakia, 2 p.m.
Latvia vs. Finland, 6 p.m.
United States vs. Germany, 10 p.m.


Aug. 10

Sweden vs. Switzerland, 2 p.m.
Latvia vs. Canada, 6 p.m.
Germany vs. Austria, 10 p.m.


Aug. 11

Finland vs. Czech Republic, 2 p.m.
Slovakia vs. Canada, 6 p.m.
Switzerland vs. United States, 10 p.m.


Aug. 12

Austria vs. Sweden, 2 p.m.
Slovakia vs. Latvia, 6 p.m.


Aug. 13

Austria vs. United States, 2 p.m.
Canada vs. Czech Republic, 6 p.m.
Germany vs. Switzerland, 10 p.m.


Aug. 14

Finland vs. Slovakia, 2 p.m.
Czech Republic vs. Latvia, 6 p.m.
United States vs. Sweden, 10 p.m.


Aug. 15

Switzerland vs. Austria, 2 p.m.
Canada vs. Finland, 6 p.m.
Sweden vs. Germany, 10 p.m.


Aug. 17

Quarterfinal 1, 12 p.m.
Quarterfinal 2, 3:30 p.m.
Quarterfinal 3, 7 p.m.
Quarterfinal 4, 10:30 p.m.


Aug. 19

Semifinal 1, 4 p.m.
Semifinal 2, 8 p.m.


Aug. 20

Bronze-medal game, 4 p.m.
Gold-medal game, 8 p.m.

Rosters

Note: Players drafted by NHL teams are denoted in parentheses.

Group A

Canada

Forwards

Connor Bedard
Will Cuylle (NYR)
Elliot Desnoyers (PHI)
William Dufour (NYI)
Tyson Foerster (PHI)
Nathan Gaucher (ANA)
Ridly Greig (OTT)
Kent Johnson (CBJ)
Riley Kidney (MTL)
Mason McTavish (ANA)
Zack Ostapchuk (OTT)
Brennan Othmann (NYR)
Joshua Roy (MTL)
Logan Stankoven (DAL)

Defensemen

Lukas Cormier (VGK)
Ethan Del Mastro (CHI)
Daemon Hunt (MIN)*
Carson Lambos (MIN)
Ryan O’Rourke (MIN)
Donovan Sebrango (DET)
Ronan Seeley (CAR)
Jack Thompson (TB)
Olen Zellweger (ANA)

*Replaced due to injury

Goaltenders

Brett Brochu
Sebastian Cossa (DET)
Dylan Garand (NYR)


Czech Republic

Forwards

Jaroslav Chmelar (NYR)
Michal Gut
Petr Hauser (NJ)
Daniel Hercik
Ivan Ivan
Jakub Kos (FLA)
Jiri Kulich (BUF)
Adam Mechura
Matous Mensik
Jan Mysak (MTL)
Martin Rysavy (CBJ)
Matyas Sapovaliv (VGK)
Gabriel Szturc
Tomas Urban

Defenseman

Ales Cech
Tomas Hamara (OTT)
David Jiricek (CBJ)
David Moravec
Stepan Nemec
David Spacek (MIN)
Stanislav Svozil (CBJ)
Jiri Tichacek

Goaltenders

Jan Bednar (DET)
Pavel Cajan
Tomas Suchanek


Finland

Forwards

Samuel Helenius (LA)
Roni Hirvonen (TOR)
Roby Järventie (OTT)
Oliver Kapanen (MTL)
Roni Karvinen
Joakim Kemell (NSH)
Ville Koivunen (CAR)
Brad Lambert (WPG)
Eetu Liukas (NYI)
Juuso Mäenpää
Joel Määttä (EDM)
Aatu Räty (NYI)
Kasper Simontaival (LA)
Kalle Väisänen (NYR)

Defensemen

Aleksi Heimosalmi (CAR)
Joni Jurmo (VAN)
Topi Niemelä (TOR)
Petteri Nurmi (MTL)
Kasper Puutio (FLA)
Ruben Rafkin
Matias Rajaniemi (NYI)
Eemil Viro (DET)

Goaltenders

Juha Jatkola
Jani Lampinen
Leevi Meriläinen (OTT)


Latvia

Forwards

Daniels Andersons
Rainers Darzins
Darels Dukurs
Felikss Gavars
Oskars Lapinskis
Martins Lavins
Dans Locmelis (BOS)
Peteris Purmalis
Anri Ravinskis
Rainers Rullers
Girts Silkalns
Klavs Veinbergs (TB)
Sandis Vilmanis (FLA)
Raimonds Vitolins

Defensemen

Ralfs Bergmanis
Harijs Brants
Peteris Bulans
Niks Fenenko
Daniels Gorsanovs
Bogdans Hodass
Gustavs Ozolins
Rihards Simanovics

Goaltenders

Patriks Berzins
Bruno Bruveris
Rudolfs Lazdins


Slovakia

Forwards

Jakub Demek (VGK)
Dalibor Dvorsky
Roman Faith
Samuel Honzek
Maros Jedlicka
Matej Kaslik
Jakub Kolenic
Lubomir Kupco
Martin Misiak
Oleksii Myklukha
Libor Nemec
Servác Petrovský (MIN)
Peter Repcik
Oliver Stümpel
Adam Sýkora (NYR)

Defensemen

Denis Bakala
Simon Becar
Simon Groch
Viliam Kmec
Michal Laurencik
Dávid Nátny
Rayen Petrovicky
Maxim Strbak
Adam Stripai
Boris Zabka

Goaltenders

Patrik Andrisik
Tomas Bolo
Simon Latkoczy


Group B

Austria

Forwards

Luca Auer
Jonas Dobnig
Tim Geifes
Maximilian Hengelmüller
Nico Kramer
Moritz Lackner
Oskar Maier
Senna Peeters
Ian Scherzer
Lucas Thaler
Finn van Ee
Leon Wallner
Janick Wernicke

Defensemen

Lukas Hörl
Lorenz Lindner
Matteo Mitrovic
Lukas Necesany
Maximilian Preiml
David Reinbacher
Tobias Sablattnig
Christoph Tialler
Martin Urbanek

Goaltenders

Thomas Pfarrmaier
Leon Sommer
Sebastian Wraneschitz


Germany

Forwards

Alexander Blank
Ryan Del Monte
Josef Eham
Luca Hauf
Haakon Hanelt (WSH)
Nikolaus Heigl
Thomas Heigl
Danjo Leonhardt
Yannick Proske
Bennet Rossmy
Maciej Rutkowski
Joshua Samanski
Markus Schweiger
Justin Volek

Defenders

Arkadiusz Dziambor
Nils Elten
Korbinian Geibe
Maximilian Glotzl
Adrian Klein
Luca Munzenberger (EDM)
Maksymilian Szuber (ARI)
Leon van der Linde

Goalkeepers

Florian Bugl
Niklas Lunemann
Nikita Quapp (CAR)


Sweden

Forwards

Jonathan Lekkerimäki (VAN)
Daniel Ljungman (DAL)
Fabian Lysell (BOS)
Oskar Magnusson (WSH)
Theodor Niederbach (DET)
Oskar Olausson (COL)
Isak Rosén (BUF)
Albert Sjöberg (DAL)
Linus Sjödin (BUF)
Åke Stakkestad
Victor Stjernborg (CHI)
Daniel Torgersson (WPG)

Defensemen

Emil Andrae (PHI)
Simon Edvinsson (DET)
Måns Forsfjäll
Helge Grans (LA)
Ludvig Jansson (FLA)
Anton Olsson (NSH)
William Wallinder (DET)

Goaltenders

Calle Clang (ANA)
Carl Lindbom (VGK)
Jesper Wallstedt (MIN)


Switzerland

Forwards

Mats Alge
Dario Allenspach
Nicolas Baechler
Attilio Biasca
Joshua Fahrni
Lilian Garessus
Marlon Graf
Joel Henry
Simon Knak (NSH)
Joel Marchon
Tim Muggli
Kevin Nicolet
Fabian Ritzmann
Jonas Taibel

Defensemen

Giancarlo Chanton
Noah Delémont
Vincent Despont
Rodwin Dionicio
Nick Meile
Arno Nussbaumer
Dario Sidler
Maximilian Streule
Brian Zanetti (PHI)

Goaltenders

Andri Henauer
Kevin Pasche
Noah Patenaude


United States

Forwards

Brett Berard (NYR)
Thomas Bordeleau (SJ)
Logan Cooley (ARI)
Matt Coronato (CGY)
Riley Duran (BOS)
Dominic James (CHI)
Matthew Knies (TOR)
Carter Mazur (DET)
Hunter McKown
Sasha Pastujov (ANA)
Mackie Samoskevich (FLA)
Redmond Savage (DET)
Landon Slaggert (CHI)
Charlie Stramel

Defensemen

Sean Behrens (COL)
Brock Faber (MIN)
Luke Hughes (NJ)
Wyatt Kaiser (CHI)
Tyler Kleven (OTT)
Ian Moore (ANA)
Jack Peart (MIN)
Jacob Truscott (VAN)

Goaltenders

Remington Keopple
Kaidan Mbereko
Andrew Oke

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