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NHL Expels Quinn on Conflict-of-Interest Charges : Kings' Coach Is Reported to Be Under a Contract With Canucks for Next Season

January 10, 1987

NEW YORK — Coach Pat Quinn of the Kings was expelled from the National Hockey League Friday night pending an investigation of charges that he signed a contract and accepted money to become general manager of the Vancouver Canucks next season, the league announced.

A Canadian radio station, CFUN of Calgary, Alberta, reported Thursday that Quinn, who once played for Vancouver, will be the Canucks' general manager next season. The job currently is held by Jack Gordon, who has the title of director of hockey operations.

But Quinn, following the Kings' 5-4 loss to Calgary Thursday night, denied the report, saying he had a "contractual and moral commitment to the management and players of the Los Angeles Kings."

King officials, who met with Quinn Friday night, said they had no immediate comment.

"We would like to be informative; however, since this matter is under investigation, we are obliged to make no comment," General Manager Rogie Vachon said.

League President John Ziegler said in a news release that the Kings would be precluded from filing tampering charges, however, because Quinn's contract is not on file with the league.

" . . . There is a bigger and more important issue present by these facts," Ziegler's statement read. "Mr. Quinn is directly responsible for the preparation and conduct of the Los Angeles Kings NHL game competition.

"Despite these responsibilities, he has committed himself to assume the responsibilities of a general manager for a competing team in this league, has accepted money therefrom and yet has continued to attempt to discharge his responsibilities for the Los Angeles Kings.

Ziegler said Quinn "is expelled from the National Hockey League and may not be employed by any member club of the league or involved in any further activities on behalf of the league or its member clubs. This expulsion shall continue during the period of a complete investigation which has been commenced by this office."

Without making mention of the origin of the charges, Ziegler said there was "no evidence that Mr. Quinn has done anything other than to do his best to make sure that the Los Angeles Kings win every game they play.

"There is no doubt that Mr. Quinn honestly believes that this conflict will not handicap him in faithfully performing his duties to the Los Angeles Kings.

"However, there is a much greater responsibility that must be recognized in these circumstances. Competitive sports, and in particular, professional sports, have the highest obligation of trust to each and every one of its patrons to assure the absolute integrity of the competition. This is the heart and soul of the business.

"This trust must be jealously guarded and protected at all times.

"This trust obligation includes not only guarding against actual threats to the integrity of the game but equally important, making sure that the perception of the integrity is not tainted in any fashion."

Ziegler said it was unfortunate that the Kings would have to "bear the brunt of this order in that they lose their coach on such short notice."

The Kings are scheduled to play Buffalo tonight at the Forum.

Thursday night in Calgary, Quinn had refused to say whether he had discussed a position with the Canucks. "The future I can't comment on," he said. "Right now I'm busy coaching this hockey team."

Quinn, who has coached the Kings for three years, admitted he would eventually like to become a general manager.

"That has been a part of my goal, to reach the echelons of hockey," he said. "With my future, I'm like every coach in this league. I work from day to day."

The Kings are fourth in the Smythe Division with an 18-20-4 record, and with 40 points they are 9 points ahead of last season's pace. Vancouver at 12-25-4 is last in the division.

Arthur Griffiths, assistant to the chairman of the Canucks, said he had no comment on the report. "I never comment on speculation," he said.

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