BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Former Buffalo Sabres star Rene Robert has filed a $1.5 million lawsuit accusing the National Hockey League of failing to prevent him from being victimized by three other teams after he left the Sabres.
Robert, 35, in the suit filed Tuesday in state Supreme Court in Buffalo, accuses the NHL of failing to follow through on its duty to supervise contracts.
The legal action also accuses the Toronto Maple Leafs and the defunct Colorado Rockies of conspiring to undermine his contract rights.
The lawsuit also contends the New Jersey Devils, the franchise which succeeded Colorado, owe him $400,000 in salary and other compensation.
The lawsuit seeks $500,000 in combined damages from all the defendants, plus an additional $1 million from APA Sports Inc. -- which had owned the Rockies -- and the Maple Leafs.
Robert alleges the Rockies improperly coaxed him to sign multi-year contracts in 1979 by offering him a package of partially deferred payments.
The lawsuit alleges the Devils are liable because his disputed 1979 contracts for salary and deferred payments with the Rockies are still in force, and part of the Rockies liabilities acquired in 1982 when the franchise moved to New Jersey under new ownership.
The suit also alleges the Rockies and Maple Leafs had a 'private, unrecorded agreement' under which the Leafs were given the option of returning Robert to the Rockies before the 1982-83 season. The Leafs acquired Robert from the Rockies in 981.
Robert, currently living in suburban Toronto and employed by a Canadian brewery, was a right winger with the Sabres for 7 years in the mid 1970's and was part of the high-scoring 'French Connection' line with Rick Martin and Gilbert Perreault.
Martin currently has a $10 million player-injury lawsuit pending against the Sabres. Perreault is still a member of the team.