Moe Mantha is not going to take his lengthy suspension from the OHL without a fight.
Mantha, the general manager/coach of the Windsor Spitfires, has hired Toronto lawyer Brian Greenspan to explore his legal options.
On Oct. 18, Mantha was suspended for the rest of the season as GM and a total of 40 games as coach because of a hazing incident and failing to stop a fight during practice between two Spitfires.
When contacted by the Toronto Sun, Mantha would not comment and referred questions to Greenspan.
"There is a real concern his reputation has been unfairly damaged," said Greenspan, who once represented Alan Eagleson. "We're just in a very formative stage of our consideration of his position. It would be premature to come to any conclusion (as to what form of action he might take on Mantha's behalf)."
Word through numerous sources is Mantha is upset with what he perceives as being hung out to dry and for taking much of the punishment.
Branch said yesterday he was unaware Mantha had hired Greenspan.
"I have no idea why he hired him," Branch said.
Branch said no other incidents of hazing involving other clubs have been brought to his attention this season.
The boom was lowered on Mantha following a 19-day investigation in which Branch interviewed Mantha, Spits owner Steve Riolo, assistant coaches D.J. Smith and Billy Bowler, two trainers and 25 players. The Spits have 10 days from the time of the suspension to appeal it to the OHL's board of governors.
With Mantha and Riolo on the team bus during a return from London after a pre-season game on Sept. 9, some players were forced to take part in a hazing ritual known as a hot-box. Players had to strip and were crammed into the bus' bathroom.
On Sept. 28, rookie Akim Aliu and veteran Steve Downie fought at practice. Downie has since left the club and is waiting to be traded.
The Spits were fined a total of $35,000 for the incidents.