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Vanessa Bryant sues helicopter operator for deaths of Kobe, Gianna – Global News



Lawyers for Vanessa Bryant have filed a wrongful death suit against the helicopter operator involved in the death of her husband, Kobe Bryant and their daughter, Gianna.

Bryant lodged the 27-count complaint against Island Express Helicopters and Island Express Holding Corp. in the Los Angeles Superior Court, the Associated Press reports. Her team alleges that pilot Ara Zobayan, who died in the crash, was “negligent.”

They allege that Zobayan failed “to use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft,” and didn’t assess weather data before takeoff, NBC News says.

The suit accuses Zobayan of eight different counts of negligence, including failing to properly assess the weather, flying into conditions he wasn’t cleared for and failing to control the helicopter.

Kobe Bryant memorial — Thousands gather in LA’s Staples Center for NBA star and daughter Gianna

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Calls to Island Express seeking comment were not answered and its voicemail was full.

As the lawsuit news broke, thousands gathered at the Staples Center for a memorial service celebrating the life of Kobe and Gianna.

The father-daughter duo, along with seven other people including Alyssa, Keri and John Altobello, Christina Mauser, and Payton and Sarah Chester, died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.

At the time, the Los Angeles Police Department said it grounded its helicopters that afternoon given how foggy it was, NBC reports.

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It’s alleged in the lawsuit that Zoboyan should have aborted the flight knowing the cloudy conditions, but failed to do so.

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According to TMZ, Zobayan was disciplined in 2015 for violating the visual flight rule enforced by Island Express. He reportedly broke those rules that year by flying into an airspace of reduced visibility, the same act that reportedly caused the crash that killed Kobe and Gianna.

Both regular and charter services provided by Island Express have been suspended since Jan. 30 following the crash.

A statement on their website reads: “All services (regular and charter) were immediately suspended following the tragic accident on Sunday, January 26.”

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“The shock of the accident affected all staff, and management decided that service would be suspended until such time as it was deemed appropriate for staff and customers.”

As yet, the company hasn’t released a statement regarding the lawsuit.

—With files from the Associated Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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NHL Prospect Notebook: Thoughts on Team Canada's WJC camp roster –



Hockey Canada announced a 35-player selection camp roster for the 2022 world juniors on Wednesday. Due to COVID protocols, camp will be shortened to allow for the final roster to move into quarantine before transitioning to the Edmonton bubble for the duration of the tournament. There will be two days of practice and two games against a USports team from Dec. 9-12 before final decisions are made on the 25-man roster.

NHL Content
Four players on this roster have already played NHL games in Cole Perfetti, Jake Neigbours, Hendrix Lapierre and Mason McTavish, the last three of whom have already scored their first NHL goals.

No. 1 in 2022
Kingston’s Shane Wright, the projected first overall pick in the 2022 NHL draft, will get his second crack at making the team after a disappointing camp last year where he simply couldn’t find his stride. Wright lead Canada to gold at the U18 worlds and is up over a point per game for the OHL’s Frontenacs, despite being fourth in team scoring.

No. 1 in 2023?
Connor Bedard will attempt to become one of a handful of 16-year-olds in history to make Team Canada’s WJC squad and join a list that includes Wayne Gretzky, Eric Lindros and Connor McDavid. Bedard has 17 points in 21 games for a Regina team that has endured a coaching change. Canada’s Director of Player Personnel, Alan Millar, knows the player well. With Millar having worked previously as GM for the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors, he not only got to see plenty of Bedard in the Regina bubble last season, but was quick to point out that Bedard produced 10 of his team-leading 14 points when it counted most for Canada in the medal round of the 2021 U18 worlds.

Canada will employ a roster composition of three goalies, eight defencemen, and 14 forwards. Typically, IIHF rules allow for 22-man rosters, but COVID protocols have made a concession for an additional three players. This was also the case last year.

Three Back
There are three returnees from last year’s silver medal-winning Canadian team in Perfetti, defenceman Kaiden Guhle and goaltender Dylan Garand. Guhle was traded from Prince Albert to Edmonton on Wednesday.

Quinton Byfield of the L.A. Kings remains on the sidelines with an injury, as do Flyers prospects Tyson Foerster and Zayde Wisdom.

Stay in the Show
In terms of WJC eligible players still in the NHL, Jamie Drysdale is playing over 20 minutes per game for Anaheim. Columbus’ Cole Sillinger, who has nine points in 20 games, is centreing Columbus’ second line. And Carolina’s Seth Jarvis has seen time on the Canes’ top line while putting up seven points in 14 games played.

Maize and Blue in the Red and White
University of Michigan’s Owen Power, the first overall pick by Buffalo in the 2021 NHL draft, will participate. Due to the time he would’ve missed last year to come to the WJC, he along with Michigan head coach Mel Pearson, decided it would be best to stay the course in his freshman season and not miss the 51 days it would have required to participate (including quarantine). Power currently sits tied for second in NCAA play with 23 points in 16 games. He won a World Championship gold with Canada last summer and now looks to become the first player ever to win a men’s senior world and a world junior gold before competing in an NHL game.

Power’s Michigan teammate, and Columbus first-rounder Kent Johnson, also earned an invite to Canada’s camp. He’s tied with Power at 23 points on the season.

Who Dat?
The two biggest surprises in Canada’s camp have to be Ryan Tverberg of UConn and Eliot Desnoyers of QMJHL Halifax. Tverberg is a seventh-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ from 2020 and leads the Huskies in scoring. Desnoyers is an Arizona fifth-rounder, also from 2020. As of Wednesday, he was fifth in league scoring with 34 points, only eight of which have come on the power play.

Three’s Company
The only competition in goal will be for the starter’s job as all three names to camp will be on the final team. Garand is the returnee and will be joined by Detroit first-rounder Sebastian Cossa and former Junior C netminder Brett Brochu, currently with the London Knights.

A few surprising omissions include WHL leading scorer Matthew Savoie, Anaheim first-rounder Jacob Perreault, Blainville-Boisbriand defenceman Miguel Tourigny, who leads all CHL defencemen with 16 goals, Barrie defenceman Brandt Clarke (who leads the OHL in defencemen scoring) and Sudbury centre Chase Stillman, who played a role Canada head coach Dave Cameron would admire with Canada’s U18 gold medal team.

Cameron last coached Canada at the world juniors in Buffalo in 2011. Canada led the gold medal game 3-0 going into the third period that year before dropping a 5-3 decision to Russia.

Boydy Boy
Nobody knows Cameron like James Boyd. The two spent years together working in Toronto and Mississauga and it’s clear the management team had a vision in coming up with the 35-player list. “This is not an All-star team, hard skill over soft skill, details, being able to overcome challenges and adversity,” were small bits of the messaging from Wednesday’s presser. The point was stressed that this team will be composed to handle playing in a variety of ways and to face a number of challenges and adversity. The final roster will be constructed as such.

Home Ice
Canada last won on home ice when the tournament was hosted jointly by Montreal and Toronto in 2015.

In the Pool
Canada, Finland, Germany, Czech Republic and Austria compose Group A. Reigning gold medalists USA will play in a pool with Russia, Sweden, Slovakia and Switzerland.

“We’re not building a team for Boxing Day, we’re building a team for January 5th,” said Director of Player Personnel Alan Millar.

USA, the reigning gold medalists, feature six first-round NHL draft picks and will participate in camp in Plymouth, Mich., from December 13-15.

The US has never won back-to-back tournaments, but has three gold medals in the past nine years.

Maize and Blue in the Red, White and Blue
The Wolverines feature four players on USA’s roster in Luke Hughes (New Jersey pick), Jacob Truscott (Vancouver), Thomas Bordeleau (San Jose) and Mackie Samoskevich (Florida).

Back Again
They US returns three defencemen in L.A. Kings prospect Brock Faber and Ottawa draft picks Ty Kleven and Jake Sanderson. Up front, Seattle’s first ever draft pick, Matty Beniers, is one of three returnees. Chicago’s Landon Slaggert and Ranger pick Brett Berard are the others.

The Americans have called upon just two first-year draft eligibles, goalie Dylan Silverstein and winger Logan Cooley.

Wolves and COVID
With 12 positive test results for COVID-19, the Sudbury Wolves were forced to cease operations for at least 10 days. Team officials spent Wednesday delivering workout gear to billet homes. Players, if feeling up to it, will participate in daily workouts.

While in isolation, players will also be subject to personal meetings with coaches, team building and individual video sessions over Zoom.

Unfortunately, some of the billet families have been forced to self-isolate as well.

As of Wednesday afternoon, all who tested positive were either asymptomatic or experiencing mild symptoms.

One player of particular note is defenceman Jack Thompson. The Tampa Bay prospect was selected to participate in Hockey Canada’s U20 selection camp. Thompson is working with the Wolves, the Lightning and Hockey Canada to make sure he’s able to participate in camp, which begins Dec. 9. It is unknown as to whether or not Thompson is one of the 12 players who tested positive, but even with the mandatory 10-day waiting period, Thompson would be eligible to participate in the full camp.

Team members will re-test after seven days and if results are negative, will be able to get back to business after the mandatory 10 days.

By all accounts, local health authorities and league officials have been extremely supportive in Sudbury’s time of need.

Capital City Challenge Gold Game
This tournament, featuring three U17 teams and the women’s national team, concluded Wednesday. In a back and forth affair for the gold medal game, Riley Heidt of Prince George put Team Red ahead 5-4 with 29 seconds left only to have Team Black tie it with a goal from Winnipeg’s Zach Benson at 19:59. Oshawa’s Calum Ritchie won it for Team Black at the 9:19 mark of overtime, his 11th point of the tourney.

Team Black was led by Benson, who put up 12 points over five games, while Team Red received seven-point performances from Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL) Matthew Wood and Moose Jaw’s (WHL) Brayden Yager.

Team White defeated the National Women’s team 6-1 to capture the bronze medal.

The Women’s National team was lead by Marie-Philip Poulin with four points in three games. Seven players accumulated two points apiece .

Team White was lead by Ethan Gauthier of Sherbrooke, who put up nine points in five games, including an assist on Ty Peddle’s game-winner.

Leading scorers
Team Black was led by Winnipeg’s Zach Benson, who finished the tournament with 11 points in four games. Oshawa’s Calum Ritchie finished second with nine points.

My good pal, and Flames radio analyst Peter Loubardias couldn’t stop raving about Yager, whom many have already compared to Nathan MacKinnon.

Petes New Coach
In case you haven’t seen this, it’s unreal. Peterborough Petes head coach Rob Wilson is currently with the U17s in Ottawa for the tournament that just wrapped. His Petes hosted Ottawa on Sunday, and so a new coach took the reins while Wilson was away.

By the way, the Petes won 3-2.

You can purchase t-shirts here, with all proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Speaking of the Petes, when the third overall pick from the 2021 draft, Mason McTavish, was sent back to Peterborough, it was in the hopes he would participate in the world juniors and give the Petes a big lift. He had a hat trick in his first game back, a 5-3 win versus North Bay, and opened the scoring in aforementioned Cal Wilson’s coaching debut.

Teddy Time
It’s Teddy Bear toss season in the CHL. If you feel comfortable enough to attend a game, be sure to check your local team’s schedule and try to attend on Teddy Bear toss night. It’s a blast and it will go a long way in making a child’s holidays.

Gone Way too Soon
Deepest condolences to the Swaby family. Former Tri-City Americans and Edmonton Oil Kings defenceman Matt Swaby left us way too soon. He leaves behind wife Carla and three kids. A GoFundMe page has been set up for Carla and the children.

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Matthews scores three, Leafs thump Avalanche 8-3 for 15th victory in 17 games – Yahoo Canada Sports



TORONTO — The Maple Leafs knew there were plenty of built-in excuses.

Just back from a California road trip, the jet lag had yet to lift, bodies were tired, and it had been more than a week and a half since the luxury of a day off — all with one of the NHL’s hottest teams waiting on deck.

None of it mattered.

Auston Matthews scored three times to register the fourth hat trick of his career as the scorching Leafs thumped the Colorado Avalanche 8-3 on Wednesday night.

John Tavares added a goal and two assists for Toronto (17-6-1), while William Nylander scored and set up another. Jack Campbell made 28 saves.

“Really good effort from everybody,” Matthews said. “Playing a really good team with a lot of really dangerous players, you know that they’re gonna get their push and they’re gonna get their opportunities.

“All 20 guys out there did a really good job.”

Jason Spezza, Travis Dermott and Pierre Engvall had the other goals for the Leafs, who have won five straight and are 15-2-0 over their last 17 to take over top spot in the NHL’s overall standings. Michael Bunting added three assists, while Mitch Marner and Alexander Kerfoot chipped in with two each.

“Good preparation coming in, good mindset,” Tavares said. “Good energy, especially coming off the West Coast trip.”

Nazem Kadri, with two, and Samuel Girard replied for Colorado (11-7-1). Jonas Johansson stopped 33 shots as the Avalanche lost for the second time in their last three contests after winning six in a row.

“The energy in the room was that it’d be easy to make an excuse right now,” Dermott said. “But tonight was a game that I think we could really show our character.”

Colorado star Nathan MacKinnon, who had two assists, returned after missing eight games with a lower-body injury, while Kadri suited up at Scotiabank Arena as a visitor for the second time since being traded to the Mile High City in July 2019.

The Avalanche announced shortly before the game No. 1 goalie Darcy Kuemper (upper-body injury) — named as Wednesday’s starter by head coach Jared Bednar following the morning skate — was unavailable.

“That was not the issue,” Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog said. “The issue was we just didn’t play good enough.”

That did mean, however, University of Toronto netminder Jett Alexander dressed as Johansson’s emergency backup for warmups. But the 22-year-old from Bloomfield, Ont., remained in the locker-room area until third-stringer Justus Annunen arrived to witness the carnage up close in the second period.

“I don’t think it was an 8-3 game if we’re being honest,” said Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe, whose team built a 3-0 lead in the first. “We played against a really good team that had some adversity.

“That makes the game feel a lot different than it really was.”

Coming off a trip that saw them sweep the New York Islanders and all three California teams, the Leafs went up 1-0 at 4:31 of the opening period when Tavares delicately fed a pass ahead to Nylander, who ripped his 10th goal of the season.

Toronto went up 2-0 at 7:57 when Spezza tapped home his fifth after the Colorado netminder could only get a piece of Nick Ritchie’s shot.

The Leafs went up by three at 14:24 when Matthews — minus his trademark moustache following a shave for charity — took a feed from Marner and went between the legs and back against the grain to roof his team-leading 11th goal, and fourth in as many games.

“He’s such a special player,” Dermott said. “When he’s hot like this, you just want to put the puck … not even on his tape.

“You put it on his backhand — he’ll make magic out of that.”

Colorado got on the board with 1.2 seconds left in the period when Girard blasted a one-timer past Campbell for his second.

The NHL’s second star in November after going 9-2-0 with a league-leading .959 save percentage, the Leafs goaltender made a number of big stops early in the second period.

But the Avalanche finally broke through to make it 3-2 at 11:57 when Kadri — the league’s third star last month thanks to 21 points in 10 games — swept his eighth past Campbell.

The Leafs got that one back just 47 seconds later when Dermott’s fluttering one-timer beat Johansson upstairs for his first.

Campbell then made terrific saves on Logan O’Connor and Alex Newhook in quick succession before Tavares slipped his own rebound through Johansson for his 11th to match Matthews and push Toronto’s lead back to three at 5-2.

But Matthews retook top spot on the Leafs’ stats page when he collected a pass from Marner in tight and outwaited Johansson for his 12th just 46 seconds into third.

The reigning Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy winner then fired his third of the night at 8:41 on a shot that beat the Colorado netminder shortside to continue the onslaught before Engvall and Kadri rounded out the scoring.

“Those first two goals, really good sequences by that line,” Keefe said of the Bunting-Matthews-Marner trio. “Just unbelievable passes by Mitch Marner in both cases.

“On the third one, (Matthews) gets it alone. That’s a pretty good shot … kisses the post.”

Added Campbell: “Auston being Auston. Just spectacular.”

Fans around Scotiabank Arena chanted Matthews’ name after hats rained down on the ice following his hat-trick snipe.

“It definitely gives you chills down your spine,” he said. “It’s just a really special place to play.

“It’s fun when the crowd gets going like that and you play as well we did tonight.”

Notes: The 21 goals the Leafs have scored over their last four games equals the team’s October total. … Kadri’s second goal was the 200th of his career. … Bunting stretched his point streak to five games (two goals, seven assists) to tie Detroit’s Moritz Seider for a longest by a rookie this season. … The Avalanche visit Montreal on Thursday before heading to Ottawa on Saturday. … The Leafs play in Minnesota on Saturday and Winnipeg on Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2021.


Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version had Nazem Kadri’s last name misspelled in one reference.

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Bitterness replaces business as lockout grinds Major League Baseball to a halt – Toronto Sun



“The shutdown is a dramatic measure, regardless of the timing,” MLBPA president Tony Clark said

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After an unprecedented spending spree by billionaire owners to millionaire players in recent weeks, the chains are on Major League Baseball.


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Who knows what awaits, but most are expecting a long, drawn-out winter of rhetoric and futile negotiations possibly putting the start of the 2022 season in peril.

As the clock struck midnight on Wednesday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred did the expected and issued a lockout of players, triggering pro baseball’s first work stoppage since 1994.

Even as owners handed out more than $1.4 billion in future contracts this off-season, last-ditch talks between the league and the Major League Baseball Players Association created zero traction.

Given the laughable attempt at negotiations — and given all the money tossed around in recent days — it’s impossible for the average fan to pick a side in this dispute. And expect the bitterness from both parties to escalate the closer we move towards spring training.


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Choosing such a hard line in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic and within a sport that has had multi-layered challenges over the past number of years will be difficult to stomach for fans already disillusioned with the game.

And with negotiations broken and the lockout chains in place, both the league and the players are already launched in the blame game of the opposite side.

Claiming he was “forced” to impose the lockout, Manfred said in a letter “to the fans” that from the outset the MLBPA has been unwilling to compromise or collaborate.

And thus began what we’d expect to be months of bitterness before any hope of a settlement is reached.

“Simply put, we believe that an off-season lockout is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season,” Manfred wrote. “We hope that the lockout will jumpstart the negotiations and get us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time.


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“This defensive lockout was necessary because the Players Association’s vision for (MLB) would threaten the ability of most teams to be competitive.”

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Manfred said that imposing the lockout now gives both sides the opportunity to reach labour peace in time for the season to begin on time in late March. Naturally, the union dismissed that narrative.

“The shutdown is a dramatic measure, regardless of the timing,” MLBPA president Tony Clark said in a statement. “It was the owners’ choice, plain and simple, specifically calculated to pressure players into relinquishing rights and benefits and abandoning good-faith bargaining proposals.”

The effects of the lockout will be felt immediately.

All dealings between teams and players — including offers to free agents and trade talks — are on hold. The annual Winter Meetings, which encompasses a wide variety of league and player business and was scheduled to be held in Orlando next week has been scrapped.


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And as of Thursday, players are forbidden to show up at team facilities for workouts.

It will affect teams across baseball in different ways, including Canada’s lone team, the Toronto Blue Jays, which had been riding the momentum of a positive off-season. Jays general manager Ross Atkins was active in free agent and trade talks and the team spent more than US$250 million in free agent deals and contract extensions since the season ended in early October.

As well, the team’s state-of-the-art training facility in Dunedin, Fla., a significant asset used by many players for off-season development, is effectively off limits.

Though both sides are talking in the tone and language of any work stoppage, the bitterness is evident. There were three reported meetings this week in Texas, the last of which lasted just seven minutes.


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Realistically, there is indeed time for a deal to get done, albeit no visible middle ground that will get a deal done. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to spring training sites on Feb. 14 — which now seems highly unlikely — and the sense is the start of the season can be salvaged if agreement is reached by March 1.

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The issues are many, ranging from restrictions on free agency, to players accusations that too many teams in the league are “tanking” to accumulate better draft picks, to talks of an expanded playoff format.

The players association certainly seems determined to dig in its heels.

“These tactics are not new,” MLBPA president Clark said in his statement. “We have been here before and players have risen to the occasion time and again. We will do so again here.

“We remain determined to return to the field under the terms of a negotiated agreement that is fair to all parties.”

There’s plenty of ground to cover before that happens, clearly. And given the tenor of dealings between the league and union over the past couple of years, the unwillingness to play ball at the negotiating table is risking the prospect of playing ball in stadiums across the league.



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