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Tocchet faces gambling charges

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ssociated Press

2/7/2006 1:05:43 PM

EWING, N.J. (AP) - Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach Rick Tocchet is accused of financing a nationwide sports gambling ring in which about a dozen current NHL players placed bets, authorities said Tuesday.

Tocchet, a former NHL star, was served with a criminal complaint Monday and was expected to travel from his Arizona home to answer charges of promoting gambling, money laundering and conspiracy, state police Col. Rick Fuentes said.

Fuentes said an investigation into the New Jersey-based ring discovered the processing of more than 1,000 wagers, exceeding $1.7 million US, on professional and college sports, mostly football and baseball. He declined to identify the NHL players who reportedly made wagers.

Authorities allege Tocchet and state police Trooper James J. Harney were partners in the operation and that the ex-NHL forward provided the financing.

A message left with the Coyotes' media office in Arizona was not immediately returned. The Coyotes were home Tuesday night against Chicago.

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

The 41-year-old Tocchet played 18 years with six teams, including three seasons with the Coyotes from 1997-2000. He is one of only two players in NHL history to collect 400 goals and 2,000 penalty minutes during his career.

The 40-year-old Harney was arrested Monday. 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 A. Ulmer, 40, who was charged with promoting gambling, money laundering and conspiracy.

Both men were free on bail. They are expected to be arraigned within two weeks.

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hockeybuzz.com -

"I have been hearing some names off the record that are reportedly in the police report that are shocking and include a current GM, players, and the wife of a big name ex-player....this is serious stuff, and I don`t feel right releasing the names as they aren`t guilty until proven so....more to come... "

This could get very, very interesting.

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"He said it would be safe to presume that Rick has been involved in this type of activity since his days with the Flyers."

Thanks Cpt. Obvious, but which gambler isnt like that for Christ's sake? Call me Dick Pound, but I would be willing to bet a solid 10% of NHL'ers place wagers on sports. Some, here and there, and others a helluva lot more.

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Listening to our local talk sports station I was stunned to hear hockey being discussed today....well something about hockey at least. Philly is a great hockey town and the Flyers are huge here, but all the sports talk surrounds the football team.

So today is the perfect time for this...and that got me wondering...timing...

Why the Tuesday after the Superbowl?

I have an idea....Let`s make a movie of the week...We`ll take a pro athlete, a cop, and the actress wife of the greatest hockey player of all time, and we`ll leak a bunch of other names, we can even imply it is tied to the mob....

What a great story!

And we`ll put it out the Tuesday after the Superbowl when all the sports world can talk about it...

That way, we can get all the sports talk stations (you know the ones who give their "Sixpacks versus the spreads" and "Iron Locks of the week") to talk about how evil the hockey players were for wagering on football and college basketball...

We`ll be famous I`ll tells ya!

Has this occurred to anyone else?

I think it is safe to bet that these rings exist in football, baseball, and basketball, but they decided to go after hockey.....hmmm........and right before the olympics as well...more exposure

Don`t get me wrong, hockey players betting on hockey should be locked away....but that doesn`t look like it happened here...Is this illegal? yes. Is anyone who got tied up in this in this day and age when there are legal ways to place bets an idiot? yes again. However, the way this is going down is starting to look alot like someone is trying to make a name for themselves....


I ask my sources this. Stop sending me names. I will not name names. I know you mean well, but understand that naming names is VERY WRONG....If you have a copy of an official document with names on it, that is public record, that is fine.....otherwise, I will not be part of the great gossip machine...We live in a country where people deserve to not be dragged through the mud...When Janet Jones is connected to organized crime you really have to throw your hands up in the air..This is a made for FOX NEWS scandal. And it is all hearsay....the problem is we don`t care anymore about that...saying a person is alleged to do something, makes them look very guilty in the 24 hour news format.

I will however get to the bottom of this situation...i have some very good contacts and I encourage you to check back often...This is an ugly situation. There were alot of guys who used poor judgement.

But this is a victimless crime. It is a fraternity thing. Guys placing bets for other guys. Guys egging on guys to bet....It is a reality that gambling and sports are linked and it isn`t all bad. We all enjoy our brackets and superbowl boxes....

And if you do it certain ways it is perfectly legal.

Imagine if it were legal to buy pot online but not from a guy in NJ. That is where gambling is right now...In fact gambling is glorified on ESPN every day. Poker Shows are everywhere.....

If I hear one more guy on talk radio judging Janet Jones I am going to go over there and drop the gloves....

This is our Movie of the Week...

And I will cover it.....But I want to look at both sides of this...

Why Hockey???? Because the other sports are too important to the economy that`s why....

I have so much more, but I need confirmations...this is a highly legal thing and I need to be careful....

I have some meetings set up over the next few days with key sources...stay tuned...

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