SBD/Issue 227/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Tocchet Receives Two Years Probation For Role In Gambling Ring

Tocchet Receives Probation
For Ties To Gambling Ring
Suspended Coyotes assistant coach Rick Tocchet was given two years probation for his role in an illegal sports gambling ring Friday, according to Angela Delli Santi of the AP. Tocchet, who could have received up to five years in jail, “hopes to return to the [NHL] now that the case has been resolved.”  Kevin Marino, Tocchet’s attorney, said, "Mr. Tocchet never placed a bet on professional hockey.  Mr. Tocchet never took a bet on professional hockey.  He in no way compromised the integrity of the game of hockey or the [NHL]" (AP, 8/18). Marino added that there was "proof the case was never a ‘[NHL] gambling scandal’ as [New Jersey] authorities portrayed it when they charged Tocchet” (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 8/18). SLAM SPORTS’ Paul Friesen wrote Tocchet maintains he never took bets on NHL games, and there is “no evidence to suggest he did.”  The initial media frenzy around the case in hindsight "might have been just a little bit offside" (SLAM.CANOE.ca, 8/18). 

NHL FACES TOUGH CALL: In Toronto, Eric Duhatschek wrote the NHL has two choices -- reinstate Tocchet "on the grounds that he was mostly guilty of stupidity and poor judgment" or "ban him from the game indefinitely.” Tocchet’s return to coaching “remains the longest of long shots,” as the league still has to complete its internal investigation. But given the “current climate and the desperate need for integrity in the world of professional sports, it is hard to imagine any circumstances under which the NHL would accede to Tocchet’s plea for reinstatement” (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 8/18). SLAM SPORTS' Friesen noted NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman “has a tough one on his hands,” as he can “give the guy a second chance, or distance [his] league from any form of illegal gambling” (SLAM.CANOE.ca, 8/18).  In Toronto, Damien Cox wrote under the header, “Bettman Can’t Afford The Gamble On Tocchet.” Cox: “The NHL can’t possibly countenance having a coach convicted of felonious gambling activities simply go back to work. ... A season-long ban makes more sense. It’s an opportunity for [Bettman] to acquire the undivided attention of every player and coach in the league” (TORONTO STAR, 8/18).

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