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Published September 17, 1998
NHL: The NHL awarded its 2000 All-Star Weekend to Toronto. The 50th All-Star Game will be held at the new Air Canada Centre (NHL). In Toronto, Lance Hornby writes that Maple Leaf Gardens "likely will be used" for the Heroes of Hockey old-timers game and the skills competition, while the National Trade Centre at Exhibition Place will host NHL fan events and other functions (TORONTO SUN, 9/17)....In L.A., Karen Crouse writes under the header "Penalty on Union: Brainwashing Blake," noting that unsigned Kings D Rob Blake "has been kidnapped ... by an increasingly militant group called the NHLPA." Crouse: "The Rob Blake we know never would have let his position as [VP] of the NHLPA supersede his loyalty to the Kings. ... The Rob Blake we know wouldn't have been among the more than 100 restricted free agents who remain unsigned. ... If they're smart, the Kings won't let the NHLPA hold their season ransom" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 9/17). ...Penguins C Petr Nedved, beginning his second year as a holdout from the Pens, reached a contract agreement with the IHL Las Vegas Thunder. Nedved is expected to sign the deal upon his arrival in Las Vegas on Monday (LAS VEGAS REVIEW- JOURNAL, 9/17). IHL President & CEO Doug Moss is "working hard to improve" relations between the IHL and the NHL, but "fears" that deals like this "would hurt the relationship." Thunder GM Bob Strumm said Nedved's return is "not about money." Strumm: "In no way, shape or form would what we might be able to offer at this level compete in any way with what he could make in the NHL. All we would be able to provide is hockey" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 9/15). NOTES: The Broncos "have accepted the NFL's request" to play a preseason game next August in Sydney, Australia. Their opponent will be the Chargers, whose punter, Darren Bennett, is Australian (CO Springs GAZETTE-TELEGRAPH, 9/17). ...The three-game WNBA Brazil Tour '98, which will feature a team of WNBA All-Stars, is a joint effort of the league and the Confederao Brasileira de Basquete, and will include youth programs and appearances designed to increase basketball awareness. The first game is September 29 (W.H. Stickney, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/17).