Friday, May 25, 2007

Tocchet admits his participation in gambling ring

More image problems for Gary Bettman’s new NHL this morning, as former (well we assume he’s now a former) Phoenix assistant coach Rick Tocchet entered a guilty plea to two counts in the Operation slapshot case.

Tocchet appearing in a New Jersey court room admitted his guilt in conspiring to promote and promoting gambling in New Jersey, the final shoe to drop in the case that first came to our attention in February of 2006. The other two principles in the investigation a New Jersey state trooper and a resident of the state, have both entered their own guilty pleas in earlier sessions and now await sentencing.

At the time Tocchet also faced charges of money laundering and a potential span of ten years in jail, in the developments today it would appear that the money laundering charges have been set aside, perhaps part of the plea arrangement. It’s expected that as he is a first time offender, Tocchet will not face any jail time as part of his involvement in the gambling operation.

At the time of the investigation, the police said that they had tracked some 1.7 million dollars in bets over a forty day period, outlining allegations that a few high profile people involved in hockey had taken part in the gambling. Janet Jones Gretzky and Jeremy Roenick were two names that popped up during the course of the investigation as those with ties to the NHL that had allegedly participated by placing bets.

Jones and Tocchet subsequently filed claims of notice in New Jersey to sue a number of agencies in New Jersey, for allegedly defaming them by illegally releasing evidence from confidential wiretaps. That will be a case that will have to begin before February of 2008, two years from the date that Tocchet was first accused of his involvement in the operation.

Tocchet’s plea will apparently bring an end to his involvement with the New Jersey justice system on this case and if the reports hold true he will be spared a relationship with the corrections department.
Up next will no doubt be an announcement from the NHL explaining what they plan to do about his situation. A future which we suspect is going to be rather limited, if even viable at all from here on.
A sample of some of the media reports on the story is provided below:

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