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Tikkanen's Contract Declared Invalid

June 29, 1989|Associated Press

EDMONTON — The National Hockey League's mediation committee ruled Wednesday that Esa Tikkanen's contract with the Edmonton Oilers is invalid and the Finnish forward will become a free agent Saturday.

Tikkanen's agent, Rich Winter, said the committee agreed the contract was invalid because of a clause that would tie Tikkanen to the Oilers for one more year.

The standard NHL contract entitles a team to retain a player's rights, without a new contract, through an option year, provided that the player's salary is increased by at least 15%.

Winter, who became Tikkanen's agent during the season, successfully argued that a clause had the effect of extending the life of the contract by one year, thereby also extending the option season by a year.

Last month, Tikkanen said he was not aware of the clause. Wednesday's ruling, in effect, means Tikkanen played out his option during the 1988-89 season.

Winter said he has been assured by Alan Eagleson, head of the NHL Players Assn., and NHL president John Ziegler that there will no appeal of the ruling.

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