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Johnny Footstool
02-08-2006, 11:21 AM
Bad news for the NHL. If Gretzky placed bets through his wife, it would be the Pete Rose scandal times ten.

Looks like Rick Tocchet is headed up the river, BTW.

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/sports/13815021.htm


Posted on Wed, Feb. 08, 2006



Gretzky's wife cited in gambling ring

BOB BAUM
Associated Press

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Rick Tocchet, Wayne Gretzky's close friend and top assistant coach, headed to New York to face NHL commissioner Gary Bettman after he was implicated as the financier of a nationwide sports betting ring.

In an investigation they called "Operation Slapshot," New Jersey authorities said several NHL players - and Gretzy's wife - were among those placing bets.

Gretzky, revered as hockey's greatest player who is now in his first season as coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, met with reporters after his team's 3-1 loss to Chicago on Tuesday night and said he had no knowledge of any gambling allegations until Tocchet called him Monday night.

"The sad thing about this whole scenario is that Rick is a wonderful person and a great guy, so I hope everything works out in his favor," Gretzky said. "It's hard because I love the guy. He's a great guy, you know. I just hope it all works out for him."

He said his wife, actress Janet Jones, would talk to reporters at some point about allegations against her.

"Listen, first of all, my wife is my best friend," Gretzky said. "My love for her is deeper than anything. The reality is, I'm not involved, I wasn't involved and I'm not going to be involved. Am I concerned for both of them? Sure there's concern from me. I'm more worried about them than me. I'm like you guys, I'm trying to figure it all out."

Gretzky's wife was among those implicated, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because no bettors have been publicly identified.

Gretzky said his wife was in California and they talked, but she did not speak about her involvement.

"We didn't get into it other than she was concerned about Rick and she felt it was a tough situation with him," Gretzky said, "and she would sit down at some point and answer questions that everybody has for her and be her own person."

Gretzky said "absolutely not" when asked if she had placed bets for him.

Except for trips to Las Vegas, Gretzky said, he's no gambler.

"I'm standing here trying to answer questions and it's not even me this is about," Gretzky said. "It's the frustrating hard part for me, but I understand. I'm a big boy and you guys have a responsibility and a job to do and that's fine."

State police Col. Rick Fuentes said an investigation into the New Jersey-based ring discovered the processing of more than 1,000 wagers, exceeding $1.7 million, on professional and college sports, mostly football and basketball.

The developments came at a sensitive time for the NHL, which is trying to win back fans after a season-long lockout and just days before many of its best players will showcase their talents at the Turin Olympics.

Tocchet was served with a criminal complaint Monday and was expected to travel to New Jersey to answer charges of promoting gambling, money laundering and conspiracy, Fuentes said.

A criminal complaint informs Tocchet of authorities' intention to formally charge him and the need for him to arrange to travel to New Jersey for formal charging, or face arrest.

"It's not a hockey-related issue, it's a football thing. And at this time, I can't comment any further," Tocchet said after the Coyotes practiced earlier Tuesday.

Tocchet acknowledged that a New Jersey state trooper arrested in connection with the gambling ring case is his friend. Tocchet said he would cooperate with the investigation, but didn't answer when asked if he'd surrender to authorities.

"We understand that Mr. Tocchet's conduct in no way involved betting on hockey," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. "And, while betting on football or other sports may be the pervasive issue, it in no way justifies poor judgment or otherwise alleged inappropriate conduct."

Daly said the NHL was conducting its own internal investigation.

Authorities said Tocchet and state police Trooper James Harney were partners in the operation, with the ex-NHL forward providing the financing.

"Tocchet received illegal sports bets from wagers and funneled money back to New Jersey," Fuentes said.

Tocchet, one of three associate coaches on the Coyotes' staff, took over the head coaching duties for 10 days in December while Gretzky was with his dying mother.

The 41-year-old Tocchet played 18 years with six teams, including three seasons with the Coyotes from 1997-00. He's one of only four players in NHL history to collect 400 goals and 2,000 penalty minutes.

Tocchet was a fan favorite wherever he played, including two stints with the Philadelphia Flyers (1984-92, 2000-02).

"I think everybody is surprised," Flyers center Peter Forsberg said. "It's definitely not good for the sport to hear something like that."

Harney, 40, was arrested Monday and has been suspended from the force. The eight-year police veteran was charged in an arrest warrant with official misconduct, promoting gambling, money laundering and conspiracy. Another man accused of taking bets is James Ulmer, 40, who was charged with promoting gambling, money laundering and conspiracy.

Both men were free after posting 10 percent of their bail. Harney had $100,000 bail; Ulmer had $50,000 bail. The two men were expected to be arraigned in state Superior Court in Burlington County within two weeks.

The gambling ring had a connection with organized crime in Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, Fuentes said. Starting Monday night, authorities seized property from Harney and Ulmer. State police seized $27,000 in currency, "voluminous" amounts of sports betting information and bank accounts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, Fuentes said.

---

Associated Press Writer Chris Newmarker in Ewing, N.J., contributed to this report.

Chip R
02-08-2006, 11:35 AM
If no one gambled on hockey it's not a big scandal.

westofyou
02-08-2006, 11:38 AM
If no one gambled on hockey it's not a big scandal.

Rick Tocchet playing the role of Dutch Leonard in this battle... he'll be the one who takes the biggest fall.

Johnny Footstool
02-08-2006, 11:42 AM
If no one gambled on hockey it's not a big scandal.

Illegal gambling is a pretty big deal, especially for influential sports figures. As many people mentioned in the Rose scandal, even if the gambler doesn't bet on his own sport, he leaves himself open to the possibility of point-shaving and/or throwing games in order to pay off mob debts.

Chip R
02-08-2006, 11:47 AM
Illegal gambling is a pretty big deal, especially for influential sports figures. As many people mentioned in the Rose scandal, even if the gambler doesn't bet on his own sport, he leaves himself open to the possibility of point-shaving and/or throwing games in order to pay off mob debts.

That's very true. But it wouldn't be as big of a scandal as if they had bet on hockey games.

cumberlandreds
02-08-2006, 12:08 PM
Dear Wayne,

Your smart! Why didn't I place bets in my wife's name?

Pete Rose

Johnny Footstool
02-08-2006, 12:20 PM
But it wouldn't be as big of a scandal as if they had bet on hockey games.

Agreed. If they had bet on hockey, it would be devastating.

Reds Fanatic
02-09-2006, 09:52 AM
Gretzky's wife bet $500,000 in recent weeks including $75,000 on the super bowl.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=2324402


Wayne Gretzky knew about a gambling ring involving his wife and assistant coach, the Newark Star-Ledger reported, citing law enforcement officials who had seen the contents of state wiretaps.

The Star-Ledger reported in Thursday's editions that there is no evidence that Gretzky placed bets, but investigators are looking into whether his wife, Janet Jones, placed them for him.

Gretzky has said that he had no knowledge of the gambling ring.

"The reality is, I'm not involved, I wasn't involved and I'm not going to be involved," Gretzky said Tuesday. "Am I concerned for both of them? Sure there's concern from me. I'm more worried about them than me."

Law enforcement officials told the New Jersey newspaper that Jones bet $500,000 in recent weeks, including $75,000 in Super Bowl wagers.

Rick Tocchet, Gretzky's friend and assistant coach with the Phoenix Coyotes, was granted an indefinite leave of absence Wednesday night by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, a day after New Jersey police accused him of financing a nationwide gambling operation that took bets from about a half-dozen current players, among other bettors.

Tocchet is expected to be arraigned in the next two weeks, and Gretzky could be subpoenaed to testify before a New Jersey grand jury, the Star-Ledger reported.

Jones hasn't made any public statements, but Gretzky said Tuesday that she would answer questions at some point.

Coyotes vice president of communications Richard Nairn declined to comment to the Star-Ledger about Gretzky's knowledge of the case.

The NHL Players' Association posted a message on a secure web site Wednesday advising any players who are contacted by law enforcement authorities or the league to contact their lawyer "before talking to anyone," the Toronto Star reported.

Tocchet came to the meeting with his new attorney, who officially informed Bettman and Cleary of the pending charges that Tocchet is facing.

On the advice of attorney Kevin Marino, Tocchet wasn't prepared to respond to specific questions about the allegations, the NHL said in a news release. It was at the end of the meeting that Tocchet requested the leave of absence.

Bettman agreed to the leave as long as several conditions were met. Tocchet must immediately cease all contact and communication with NHL and team personnel and stay away for the duration of his leave. He will not be allowed to return without Bettman's consent.

The commissioner also reserved the right to change the terms of Tocchet's absence at any time.

"We view the charges against Mr. Tocchet in the most serious terms," Bettman said in a statement. "We have pledged our full cooperation to the New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey Attorney General's Office."

The NHL hired former federal prosecutor Robert J. Cleary, who headed the Unabomber case, to investigate Tocchet.

New Jersey authorities told the NHL on Wednesday that nothing has come to their attention that indicates the gambling activities relate in any way to league games. None of the players were identified in the complaint.

"While there is speculation as to which other NHL personnel may have been involved in this matter, we continue to await guidance in that regard from the New Jersey law enforcement authorities," Bettman said.

State police Col. Rick Fuentes said an investigation into the New Jersey-based ring discovered the processing of more than 1,000 wagers, exceeding $1.7 million over several weeks, on professional and college sports, mostly football and basketball.

Marino called the state's charges against his new client "false and irresponsible."

"Mr. Tocchet is one of the most well-respected men ever to play in the NHL, and he's respected for his integrity, his determination and his strength," the Newark-based lawyer said. "We deeply regret the attorney general's precipitous charges and are appalled at the ensuing media frenzy."



Cleary was the U.S. Attorney in New Jersey from 1999-02 and in the Southern District of Illinois in 2002. he also was the lead prosecutor from 1996-98 in the case against Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski, who was sentenced to four lifetimes in prison on charges related to three deaths and the maiming of two scientists.



New Jersey State Police Lt. Gerald Lewis said police investigators will interview other hockey players to get a sense of the scope of the gambling ring and to determine whether others should be charged.

Lewis said authorities also were exploring links between the gambling and Philadelphia-area mobsters. He said the investigation so far has only turned up that there might be some links, but not exactly what they were.

He also declined to reveal which players will be interviewed.

Hockey players are prohibited from making NHL wagers, legal or otherwise. There are no rules that forbid them from betting on other sports.

Reds Fanatic
02-09-2006, 09:53 AM
Deleting an accidental double post.

Johnny Footstool
02-09-2006, 06:46 PM
Investigators say their wiretaps recorded Tocchett and Gretzky discussing the gambling ring, so Gretzky has already been caught in one lie.

Bad news.

registerthis
02-09-2006, 07:01 PM
You mean to tell me Wayne Gretzky knew about a huge illegal gambling ring that involved millions of dollars, was run by an assistant coach on his team, and involved half a million dollars in bets made by his wife that were likely his own?

I'm stunned.

RFS62
02-09-2006, 10:58 PM
ESPN now reporting that Gretzky is on FBI wiretaps discussing how to keep his wife out of the investigation.

westofyou
02-09-2006, 10:59 PM
ESPN now reporting that Gretzky is on FBI wiretaps discussing how to keep his wife out of the investigation.
Yep, she's about to do a PC to let the world know that it's just her and that it's not Hockey (I'm watching Canadian Sports Cable)

westofyou
02-09-2006, 11:00 PM
BTW...the Coyotes GM made a big Super Bowl bet too.

WMR
02-09-2006, 11:04 PM
As if Canada needed any more proof that Janet Jones-Gretzky is the devil.