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Canucks Sue Ziegler, Ask That $310,000 Fine Be Lifted : Vancouver Team Claims NHL President Acted Beyond His Powers in Pat Quinn Case

Associated Press

The Vancouver Canucks said Thursday that they are suing the president of the National Hockey League for his actions after the team hired Pat Quinn from the Kings earlier this year.

The Canucks have filed a British Columbia Supreme Court writ, claiming that John Ziegler acted beyond his powers in disciplining the team for hiring Quinn as its new president and general manager while he was still coach of the Kings.

Ziegler fined the Canucks $310,000, suspended Quinn from the league until the end of the regular season and ordered him not to coach the Vancouver team until the start of training camp for the 1990-91 season.

“Ziegler acted beyond his powers,” said Vancouver lawyer Barry Kirkham, who is representing the Canucks. “We’re just trying to set aside his decision.”

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The Canucks are not seeking monetary damages, Kirkham said, but the writ asks the court to rule that Ziegler’s actions were illegal and that the fine be lifted.

If the court rules against Ziegler, the suspension and sanctions aimed at Quinn likely would be dropped by the NHL because they are based on the same evidence, Kirkham said.

The Canucks’ $310,000 fine is based on the team’s being charged $10,000 a day for each day the Kings were coached by Quinn after he reached an agreement in principle Dec. 11 with the Canucks.

The Kings were also fined $130,000 for allowing Quinn to continue coaching after he had told them about the deal with Vancouver.

In making the precedent-setting decision, Ziegler did not accuse Quinn of not performing his duties as the Kings’ coach to the fullest. But he said the action was necessary to make sure “the perception of integrity is not tainted in any fashion.”

Frank Griffiths Jr., son of Canuck majority owner Frank Griffiths and alternate league governor, said part of the reason for the writ is to protect the team’s reputation.

Griffiths said that many of the facts surrounding the Quinn affair have not been made public and will be aired once the case gets to trial.


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