Human error led to Colombia soccer plane crash: authorities

He also says he is innocent.Criminal charges have also been brought against LaMia co-owner Marco Antonio Rocha Benegas, whose whereabouts are unknown, and air traffic controller Celia Castedo, who fled Bolivia after the crash and is seeking asylum in Brazil.Bolivian authorities have said the crash was an isolated incident, but that the government will accelerate the process of implementing a new safety system. Colombian investigators have the final word on causes of the crash, Bolivian authorities have said.The aircraft had been transporting the Chapecoense team to the biggest game in its history, the final of the Copa Sudamericana.All but three of the players and staff onboard were killed. “No technical factor was part of the accident, everything involved human error, added to a management factor in the company’s administration and the management and organization of the flight plans by the authorities in Bolivia,” Colombia’s Secretary for Air Safety Colonel Freddy Bonilla told journalists.Aviation authorities in Bolivia and the airline “accepted conditions for the flight presented in the flight plan that were unacceptable,” Bonilla added.Besides a lack of fuel, the plane was over its weight limit by nearly 400 kilograms (881 lbs) and was not certified to fly at the altitude at which the journey took place, Bonilla said.The preliminary conclusions of Colombia’s investigation coincide with assertions by Bolivian authorities last week that LaMia and the plane’s pilot were directly responsible for the accident.Pilot Miguel Quiroga was also a co-owner of the airline and was killed in the crash.Gustavo Vargas Gamboa, LaMia’s chief executive, was jailed pending trial earlier this month on manslaughter and other charges, which he has denied.His son Gustavo Vargas Villegas, a former official with Bolivia’s aviation authority, is also being held on charges that he misused his influence in authorizing the license of the plane that crashed. Two crew members and one reporter also survived. Errors by the pilot, airline and Bolivian regulators are to blame for a plane crash in Colombia that killed 71 people last month, including most of Brazil’s Chapecoense soccer team, Colombia aviation authorities said on Monday.The plane, operated by Bolivia-based charter company LaMia, crashed on a wooded hillside near Medellin because the pilot failed to refuel en route and did not report engine failures caused by the lack of fuel until it was too late, officials said.

New York Giants win playoff berth after Saints best Buccaneers

But each step requires focus on the task at hand, and our focus right now is on learning from Thursday night’s [loss at Philadelphia] and moving on and getting better.“It’s all in front of us, and we are still working toward playing our best, most complete game.”This will be the Giants’ 32nd postseason appearance, tying them with Dallas for the most in NFL history. But they haven’t been much of a road team, going 3-4, with one victory a “home game” for the Rams in London. The running attack has improved recently, but it was so weak for much of the schedule that it had nowhere else to go but up.The offensive line is the weakest spot on the roster, forcing Manning to throw too many times before he has wanted.But as in their 2007 and 2011 championship seasons, the Giants have developed a dynamic pass rush, even without star defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. 7 or 8 for a wild-card game. Two of those wins came in their most recent Super Bowl years.As for McAdoo, he is the fourth coach in Giants history to lead the team to the playoffs in his first season, joining Allie Sherman (1961), Dan Reeves (1993) and Jim Fassel (1997). They must wait until after the season finales to find out where they will head on Jan. And barring a bevy of upsets, they won’t be playing any postseason games at MetLife Stadium as the No. The Packers will also participate in their 32nd postseason should they qualify.New York could face Green Bay, which it lost to on Oct. “There is a process in progressing to your ultimate objective,” said coach Ben McAdoo, who replaced Tom Coughlin this year. It could also be at Atlanta or Seattle, neither of which it played this season.The Giants need their offence to come alive. “This is the next step in the process. 9, or Detroit, which it beat on Dec. Eli Manning has been inconsistent, often rescued by the super pass-catching and tackle-avoiding skills of Odell Beckham Jr. Had the Bucs won, the Giants would have needed their archrivals from Dallas to beat Detroit on Monday night to secure a postseason berth.Instead, the Giants (10-5) are in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they won the Super Bowl. 5 seed in the NFC.In wild-card matches, the Giants are 6-4. At least now the Giants don’t have to root for the Cowboys.After Tampa Bay lost to New Orleans on Saturday, New York advanced to the playoffs. 18. Their secondary, a question mark when the season began, has become a strength as safety Landon Collins blossomed into a Pro Bowler and cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have performed well.The Giants certainly won’t fear the Cowboys, whose only two losses this season were against New York.

Jamie Oleksiak tries to establish himself as an NHL regular

A playoff MVP award followed by a World Cup MVP award is not easy to dismiss, but Oleksiak knows where his vote would have been cast.“There are so many great athletes in Canada, and obviously, I’m a little biased, but I think my sister was the best athlete in Canada this year,” Oleksiak said. He was chosen in the first round, 14th overall, by Dallas in the 2011 NHL draft, and played at the world junior championship. Louis Blues’ all-star defenceman Alex Pietrangelo, which put him in position to roof a shot past goaltender Jake Allen for the Stars’ opening goal. From there, he went to play for Chicago and Sioux Falls of the United States Hockey League. “It’s real competitive.”Competition is not something the Oleksiaks shy away from. However, when he and his sister get together, generally what he’s offered is brotherly advice, not media training.“Most of the time, we don’t talk about sports,” he said. 21, has been in the spotlight far longer than his sister, albeit on a smaller scale. I was so fortunate to be able to do that.”Jamie Oleksiak, who turned 24 on Dec. For a big man – 6-foot-7, 260 pounds – it was an exceptionally deft display. Penny Oleksiak, then just 16, won four medals – a gold, a silver and two bronze – which earned her the 2016 Lou Marsh trophy as Canada’s athlete of the year. Then, in the final minute of play, Oleksiak added a second goal to force overtime and earn the Stars a point. To see what they did for us, it made us want to do well.”Once Penny started appearing on the Olympic podium, the cameras were constantly trained on her family in the seating area, cheering her on. It’s something I’ll never forget. She’s still our little sister, and we treat her as such.“It’s one thing for me to say something to her, but my parents were there on a daily basis and they did a really good job making sure she stayed a kid. I thought, ‘how many times am I going to get this opportunity?’ I went down for six days. She’s so occupied with school and friends, and that’s a good release for her.”On the day Penny won the Lou Marsh, Jamie tweeted out his congratulations to his sister and then added: “Next big step is getting that drivers license and a bday present for the bro in a week #casualbirthdaydrop.” Penny tweeted right back at him: “Drivers licence for sure. It was a big night for Oleksiak, as he tries to establish himself as an NHL regular.“Hopefully, I’ll get a little more opportunity here and try to make the most of it,” Oleksiak said with a laugh, “and help me get out of my little sister’s shadow a bit.”Up until that breakthrough night, most Canadians were probably familiar with Oleksiak mostly because he’s the older brother of swimmer Penny Oleksiak, one of Canada’s two breakout stars at last summer’s Olympics in Rio. They have been consistently in and out of gyms, rinks and pools.“Growing up, our parents didn’t really push us too much. Jamie says it was always his intention to go to Rio to support his sister, even though they couldn’t possibly have imagined the success she would ultimately have.“The thing that worked in my favour was the World Cup, which pushed our training camp back,” he said. To win, Penny Oleksiak defeated an exceptional class of contenders – from sprinter Andre De Grasse, whose memorable races with Usain Bolt also produced high drama, to hockey star Sidney Crosby, golfer extraordinaire Brooke Henderson and tennis sensation Milos Raonic, all of whom had outstanding years.Jamie Oleksiak plays against Crosby in the NHL and knows, from ice level, the magic he can conjure up. It was just such a proud moment for us.”Given how well Penny Oleksiak performed, there’s a pretty good chance he’ll get to watch her compete in Tokyo in 2020. #dunnoaboutthatbdaygift.”Jamie Oleksiak moved away from Toronto when he was 16 to play for the Detroit Little Caesars. We were always competitive, but the big thing was to always enjoy what you did and commit to it and [we] did the best we could. “Just from being there personally, it was such an incredible experience. “Right now, she’s talking to me about getting a car, and I said, ‘you’ve got to get your driver’s licence first.’ That’s her thing right now. My sister was pretty young. In the meantime, he is trying to assert himself on a Stars’ team that has a logjam of talented young defencemen in the pipeline.But he showed a couple of weeks ago what he’s capable of and now just needs to do it on a more regular basis. “It gave me two extra weeks to train in the summer. There was a night, a few weeks back, when Dallas Stars defenceman Jamie Oleksiak found himself on all the nightly highlight reels, after the splashiest game of his NHL career.First came a dipsy-doodle-dandy of a goal. “We’ve got a young squad and we’re trying to get a little more consistent, and a little more flow going,” he said. Oleksiak neatly executed a toe drag around St. After his freshman year of college at Northeastern University, Oleksiak played a year of major junior and then turned pro.“Penny got into swimming by swimming in a neighbour’s pool – and I wasn’t even in the house anymore when she started,” Oleksiak said. A lot of this can be overwhelming, but she has such a good head on her shoulders. “It was just trying a variety of things, and our parents going out of their way to do the sports we wanted to do and make sure we enjoyed it.”There were five children in the Oleksiak household, so it was a challenge for his parents to juggle all of their various sports interests.“Honestly, a credit to the sacrifices they made for us, especially since we were all in and out of the house at different times. They did a really good job of feeding our enthusiasm for sport. As a result, he is familiar with the challenge of performing in the spotlight. I was still pretty active when I was down there, but I got a chance to watch her and I’m really glad I went.

In a year marked by loss, Chicago Cubs’ victory stands out in 2016

The death of Muhammad Ali after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease was second with 427 points, while LeBron James leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to the franchise’s first NBA title took third with 425 points.In a year that seemed to be more about people we lost (Ali, Arnold Palmer, Gordie Howe, Pat Summitt, Jose Fernandez and the plane crash that killed most of the Brazilian club soccer team Chapecoense) than the winners on the field, the Cubs provided a feel-good moment that warmed at least the north side of Chicago well into the winter. “But when they tuned in, they saw a talented team full of young, exciting players who are also team-first, high-character people.”As baseball stories go, the 2016 Cubs had it all. The Cubs drew huge ratings throughout the playoffs, with much of the continent tuning in to see if it finally was the year – and it was.“I think a lot of casual fans were initially drawn to the Cubs in the postseason because of the 108-year drought and the curse narrative,” said the team’s president of baseball operations, Theo Epstein. The story of so many lifetimes is The Associated Press’s sports story of the year. An eccentric personality in Maddon, who cemented his status as one of the game’s best managers.There was history, for the franchise and its front office, with Epstein helping end two of baseball’s biggest droughts. See the Boston Red Sox of 2004.Ali was mourned all over the world after his death in June at age 74. Loads of bright young stars, with Kris Bryant turning in an MVP performance. One last stand for David Ross, a retiring catcher who became a key figure in Chicago’s clubhouse. U.S. “The burden has been lifted,” manager Joe Maddon said.The Cubs’ first World Series title since 1908 is the runaway winner for top sports story of 2016, collecting 48 of 59 first-place votes and 549 points in balloting by AP members and editors. President Barack Obama called Ali’s wife, Lonnie, to express condolences, and a public memorial in the boxer’s hometown of Louisville, Ky., drew an eclectic mix of celebrities, athletes and politicians.“He was a tremendous bolt of lightning, created by Mother Nature out of thin air, a fantastic combination of power and beauty,” comedian Billy Crystal said. Everything changed for the Chicago Cubs on a rainy November night. A century-plus worth of heartache washed away by a wave of pure joy.There were hugs, cheers and tears – and bottles and bottles of booze, sprayed everywhere from Cleveland to the shadow of Wrigley Field.Lovable losers, no more.

Lions’ Matthew Stafford on home turf leading Detroit into Texas

Dallas did it without playing thanks to Philadelphia beating the New York Giants on Thursday.Detroit (9-5) got a similar boost on Christmas Eve with Tampa Bay’s loss to New Orleans.The Lions can’t clinch the NFC North. Matthew Stafford doesn’t dwell on Detroit’s loss to his hometown Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs two years ago.The Lions quarterback focuses on the good memories as he prepares for another homecoming Monday night, knowing his team can clinch a postseason berth with a victory.“I really like coming home and playing in Dallas,” Stafford said. “We’re going to go out and prepare like we normally prepare and play like we normally play.”Stafford will play at the $1.2-billion (U.S.) home of the Cowboys a little more than a week after his high school, Dallas Highland Park, celebrated on that field after winning its first state title since Stafford led the way 11 years ago.Highland Park’s quarterback is John Stephen Jones, the grandson of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. His Jones-owned “home” field was old Texas Stadium, and he remembers playing there as a 15-year-old sophomore.Now, the 28-year-old Stafford credits those days for helping him handle being a walk-in starter as a top recruit for Georgia, and again after he was drafted by the Lions.“Playing against Ennis and a bunch of really good football teams, a bunch of cameras on you after the game,” Stafford said. While Highland Park binds Stafford and the Jones family, the quarterback said he doesn’t know the younger Jones and hadn’t reached out to his dad, Cowboys executive vice-president of personnel Stephen Jones.“Obviously proud and happy for him and the team, but my relationship with the Jones family is just very limited,” Stafford said. “We know each other, obviously live in the same area, but that’s about it.”The last time he was on that field, Stafford had to watch one of Dallas quarterback Tony Romo’s signature celebratory moments – face down on the turf, arms outstretched in exuberance after throwing an 8-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter in the Cowboys’ 24-20 win.The loss dropped Stafford to 0-2 in the playoffs, but he’s 2-0 against Dallas in the regular season, averaging 364 yards per game.Stafford didn’t play in the Cowboys’ retractable roof stadium in high school because it opened four years after he graduated. “I think that kind of puts you in the spotlight early and lets you understand what it’s all about.”Now it’s about clinching the playoffs with his Lions. I played a lot of football in the state of Texas and in Dallas in my life. But they’re in the playoffs for the second time in three seasons under coach Jim Caldwell if they beat Dallas for the third straight time in the regular season.Caldwell said before the Bucs lost that none of the scores would affect his team’s approach.“That’s the short answer,” he said. That will have to wait until the finale at home against Green Bay. “It’s where I grew up. It’s a lot of fun going home, seeing friends and family, but at the same time just trying to win a ballgame against a really good team.”

The Cowboys (12-2) have clinched the NFC East title and home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Pittsburgh Steelers’ offence rolls to take AFC North over Baltimore Ravens

Those picks allowed the Ravens to take a 20-10 lead on Justin Tucker’s fourth field goal with 14:21 to play.“I kind of dug [us into] a hole,” Roethlisberger said. Brown caught Roethlisberger’s pass just short of the goal line and stretched the ball into the end zone with his left hand to cap off a wild fourth quarter and give Pittsburgh (10-5) its second division title in three years. Le’Veon Bell ran for 122 yards and a seven-yard touchdown kick-starting Pittsburgh’s rally during a fourth quarter that featured 31 combined points and three lead changes in the final 7:16.Flacco passed for 262 yards, including a pretty 18-yard dart to Steve Smith Sr. “I take all that blame. Guys fought back.”Indeed, with a season once filled with such promise slipping away, the Steelers turned to their three big stars.Brown caught 10 passes for 96 yards to join Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison as the only players with four straight seasons with at least 100 receptions. Their defence put up little resistance as Roethlisberger clinically got his team in position to get back to the playoffs. The Ravens took the lead on Kyle Juszczyk’s 10-yard burst up the middle with 1:18 remaining. Smith Sr. ended up with seven receptions for 79 yards, but the Ravens crumbled late. We never quit and never gave up. The Pittsburgh Steelers rode Ben Roethlisberger’s right arm and Antonio Brown’s left arm to the AFC North title.Roethlisberger shook off a pair of interceptions to throw two late touchdowns, including a four-yard strike to Brown with nine seconds remaining to lift the Steelers to a 31-27 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night. But Roethlisberger calmly led the Steelers 75 yards downfield in 10 plays, the last four coming as Brown fought through a pair of tacklers to assure the Steelers of a third straight playoff berth.“Right before we went out,” Brown said, “we said, ‘Let’s get the game-winning touchdown and get out of here.’”The Ravens (8-7) were officially eliminated when Joe Flacco’s pass near midfield was intercepted on the final play.Kansas City secured a playoff berth with the Baltimore loss.With the win, the Steelers recorded their sixth straight victory and snapped a four-game losing streak against Baltimore.Roethlisberger finished with 279 yards passing and three touchdowns to overcome two third-quarter interceptions. that put Baltimore up 14-10 early in the third quarter.

BCHL and U.S. colleges create an alternate route to the NHL

schools on scholarships, a number that has roughly doubled during the decade-plus tenure of BCHL commissioner John Grisdale.“It’s proven that kids can develop anywhere,” Grisdale said.The BCHL is also the Junior-A leader in producing NHL draft picks.Of 402 players drafted directly from Junior A, 153 of them were in the BCHL, according to hockeydb.com. Colleges/universities follow at 1,517, and European elite leagues are at 1,260.)Scouts have an eye on the evolving prospects landscape, investing time at Junior-A rinks.“We have to give those players their due,” said Judd Brackett, director of amateur scouting for the Vancouver Canucks. THE CANADIAN PRESS

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Team Canada’s captain at world juniors counts the lessons learned this ‘weird’ year

The British Columbia Hockey League is at the centre of the shift.Last season, the BCHL featured 123 players who had been recruited to play at NCAA Division I schools. It’s a different route. You can take any route and you can find your way. He landed at the University of North Dakota, where the team won a national title last season, in his third year. “Jost and Fabbro showed if you’re a good hockey player in a good program, they’ll find you.”Kirk Lamb, chairman of the Canadian Junior Hockey League, said: “It’s becoming much more of an option for high-end players.”In the past, it was rare to see a big name emerge from the Junior A-NCAA route. On this path, aspiring teens in Canada play Junior A hockey – long considered second-tier – before collegiate hockey and a possible career in the NHL. The drafting of Jost and Fabbro added to Penticton’s profile.Harbinson has been getting calls from highly ranked bantam prospects about their next step in hockey.“A lot of players worry about: ‘Will I still get opportunities with Team Canada, will I still get drafted?’” Harbinson said. The likes of Brett Hull and Paul Kariya were exceptions. Some of the best young players who will soon be in the NHL spent this past month writing college exams in the United States.The established road to hockey success for Canadian teenagers has always been the major-junior leagues across the country. I’ve been blown away.”The primacy of major junior as the stepping stone to the NHL is not in jeopardy.But the rising number of NHL players coming out of U.S. Canada’s Dylan Strome is seen during a practice session ahead of the IIHF World Junior Championship, in Toronto on Saturday, December 24, 2016. Jost and Vees teammate Dante Fabbro, who was picked 17th over all by the Nashville Predators last June, were the latest.Fabbro, a defenceman, will be another important player for Canada at the world junior tournament and is making his mark as a freshman at No. He played three seasons for Penticton but went undrafted. But an alternative route has quietly gained ground, one that runs through the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Then, in June, the league scored its best-ever showing at the NHL draft, when three of its players were selected in the first round, led by Tyson Jost, chosen 10th overall by the Colorado Avalanche.“I knew where I wanted to go with my hockey career,” said Jost, who played for the BCHL’s Penticton Vees and is currently a star freshman at the No. Collegiate alumni account for about 30 per cent of NHL players, up from around 20 per cent in the early 2000s.Troy Stecher, a 5-foot-10 defenceman, has made the leap from Junior A-college to the NHL. More and more, guys are deciding to go to college.”The BCHL has long been a leader among Canadian Junior-A leagues in sending its players to U.S. 8-ranked University of North Dakota.He is the sixth-leading scorer among Division I freshmen and is set to be a key player on Canada’s world-junior team later this month.“I have nothing against major junior. universities has changed the game for some players.Major-junior contracts disqualify players from NCAA scholarships, so to eventually play and study south of the border, Junior A is becoming a more attractive option for teenagers.“You’ve got to make some lifetime decisions when you’re young,” said Jost of his choice in his mid-teens.The Vees in the BCHL have been a leader in establishing the viability of Junior A for promising prospects.Fred Harbinson is in his 10th season as Vees coach, general manager and president, and has had more than two dozen players chosen in the NHL draft. But the number of players in the NHL coming from the college ranks, the preferred route for many American players, has climbed significantly. I wouldn’t say it [Junior A] is lower. But a lot more kids should take a harder look at the NCAA. He has gone on to solidify his status as a top player on the Canucks roster, as the team struggles through another difficult season.“Nowadays,” Stecher said, “hockey is such a big global market. (Major junior of course is the leader by far, with 5,909 players. 6-ranked Boston University.An important demarcation point for Harbinson and the Vees was 2011-12, when the team went on a record 42-game winning streak and eventually won a national title. Before signing with the Vancouver Canucks, the 22-year-old fielded interest from about 20 NHL teams.Stecher started the season in the AHL but was quickly called up when the Canucks dealt with early injuries.In his first NHL game, Stecher was arguably the Canucks best player, named third star of the game in a 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators.