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Volume 24 No. 156
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          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).