pleads guilty in betting scandal
Yesterday, the former NHL All-Star and
Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach, Rick Tocchet, pleaded guilty to
third-degree charges of conspiracy and promoting gambling in
connection to the sports betting ring accusations.
Tocchet admitted during the scheduled hearing yesterday, that
between 2002 and 2006 he was part of the illegal sports betting
ring, with James Harney and James Ulmer.
The police investigation into the gambling
ring began in 2005 when they found out that Harney, a former New
Jersey State Trooper was involved in the illegal betting
operation. Tocchet and others were targeting high rollers - high
profile athletes, even Wayne Gretzky's wife has admitted of
placing wagers with this gambling ring.
Kevin Marino, attorney for Rick Tocchet,
admitted that the guilty plea was a way for Tocchet to avoid
jail time, and be sentenced to probation. Sentencing was set or
Phoenix Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky has said
he wants Tocchet back, however, and there was even talk about
Tocchet replacing Barry Smith as an associate coach. Rick
Tocchet has been on NHL-approved leave of absence since
the beginning of the case, almost an year ago, and probation
will allow him to return to being an assistant coach for the
team, depending on the Gretzky and NHL decisions. The Coyotes
issued the following statement: "The Phoenix Coyotes will await
the completion of the National Hockey League's investigation and
will support whatever decision the Commissioner may render
regarding Mr. Tocchet's status."