Canucks, Quinn Plan to Appeal

Times Staff Writer

The Vancouver Canucks and Pat Quinn, former coach of the Kings, are appealing the National Hockey League sanctions against them to the league's Board of Governors, which will meet here this week.

An appeal is the first step in correcting what the Canucks and Quinn see as the injustice of NHL President John Ziegler's decision Jan. 30, which fined Vancouver $310,000, extended the expulsion of Quinn from the NHL for the rest of the season and banned him from coaching the Canucks until the 1990 season.

The Kings were fined $130,000 for their part in the case--in which Quinn signed a contract Dec. 24 to become the Canucks' president and general manager next season, while still under contract to the Kings.

The Kings were fined for each day they allowed Quinn to coach after knowing he was under contract to Vancouver and for not telling the league sooner than Jan. 8.

The Kings, however, have chosen not to appeal their fine at the Board of Governors meeting this week during Rendez-Vous 87--the NHL's two All-Star games against the Soviet Union.

"We have no sense of urgency that our appeal be heard at this time," Bob Steiner, spokesman for the Kings' majority owner, Jerry Buss, said Monday. "Why rush when you don't have to? Maybe there will be some things that will evolve from testimony from Vancouver and Pat Quinn that we'll want to look at."

The appeals by Quinn and the Canucks will be heard at the Friday board meeting.

The board, made up of executives from each of the 21 NHL teams, is an independent body and, according to Section 17.11 of the NHL bylaws, it may "confirm, amend or quash" Ziegler's order.

"It can do just about anything it wants," Morris Chucas, Quinn's attorney, said by phone Monday from his Cherry Hill, N.J., office.

Asked what he hoped to gain from the appeal, Chucas said: "The appeal will ask that the order, as it refers to Pat Quinn, be reversed."

The NHL turned down repeated requests from The Times for records regarding past appeal matters heard by the board. The league would also not say if the board has generally acted independent of the NHL's president--whom the Board elects--or if the board has generally supported the president's orders.

"Frankly, I don't know, either," Chucas said, when asked if he was aware of any precedents. "I've set in motion some research to try to find that out. I've got a feeling that every effort will be made to support 'their president'.

"Obviously, I don't think that (Ziegler) did the right thing. My fear is that (the board) hired him, they'll support him."

The board has at least these options: It could hear the appeals and render a decision, for or against Quinn and the Canucks. It could hear the appeals and postpone a decision. Or it could choose not to hear the appeals, telling both parties to first go through the league's rehearing process.

All parties have the right to appeal to the league for a rehearing. Quinn's and Vancouver's applications for a rehearing would have to first gain the endorsement of the Kings.

Ziegler would not comment on why he gave the Kings the right of ultimate approval on the applications for rehearing.

Steiner said the Kings were still studying their options in the rehearing process, but that process would likely be the first step they would take. Applications for rehearing must be received by the president's office before June 10.

Steiner also said that since the appeal to the board was strictly regarding the fines, the Kings might pursue a "process where we can file a grievance" with the league.

That would be a way for the Kings to receive compensation for the loss of Quinn--presumably cash or a draft pick from the Canucks.

Whatever happens, the league is hoping that questions regarding the nettlesome case will go away, lest they mar hockey's showcase here this week.

But that doesn't seem likely.

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