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Roenick Is Ready to Do the Talking

February 13, 2006|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

The Kings' Jeremy Roenick will meet with his attorneys on the East Coast today and then give an affidavit to New Jersey authorities investigating the NHL gambling scandal, a league source said.

Roenick, sources have said, was among the players who placed bets with a nationwide gambling organization run by Phoenix Coyote assistant coach Rick Tocchet and James Harney, a New Jersey state policeman. The two have run the gambling ring for five years, according to New Jersey authorities.

The Boston Bruins' Travis Green is the only other current NHL player who has been reported to have placed bets, but from six to 12 current and former players are believed to have placed wagers.

Roenick has declined to comment. King officials have said they are monitoring the investigation.

Meanwhile, information on when a wiretapped conversation was recorded appears to support Wayne Gretzky's contention that he had no prior knowledge of the gambling ring that allegedly involved his wife and Tocchet.

A New Jersey state police wiretapped conversation of Gretzky asking Tocchet how Gretzky's wife, Janet Jones, could avoid being named as a participant in the ring happened last Monday -- the day after Jones allegedly won money betting on the Super Bowl, sources told the Associated Press.

A person with knowledge of the investigation confirmed the wiretap was recorded last Monday, the day Gretzky's lawyer said New Jersey detectives showed up at the Coyote coach's doorstep to speak to his wife.

"Published reports that Wayne had spoken to Rick Tocchet about his concern for Janet prior to officers appearing at Wayne's house on Monday are completely ludicrous," said Gretzky's attorney, Ron Fujikawa.

Jones reportedly placed more than $100,000 in bets. Gretzky -- executive director of Canada's Olympic hockey team -- Jones and their 15-year-old son Ty were to leave today for the Turin Games in Italy.

Roenick, who was a teammate of Tocchet's when they were Coyote players, was not a part of the ring but is believed to have placed about $100,000 in bets, the source said.

None of the players involved placed bets on hockey, Robert Cleary, the attorney retained by the NHL to conduct the league's investigation, said this week.

This is not the first time that Roenick's name has surfaced in a gambling investigation. In 2004, it was learned that Roenick -- then with the Philadelphia Flyers -- paid more than $100,000 to a Florida firm that made millions selling betting tips to gamblers.

There was no evidence that Roenick had bet on hockey games and he said at the time that he had quit gambling, "cold turkey."

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