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).