Monday, February 13, 2006

NHL betting Gretzky is clean.

Well, well, well, hockey is the big story in sports. I thought I would never say that. Unfortunately for the sport of hockey, it takes an alleged gambling ring to get some headlines. And it’s not even the gambling ring that is getting the headlines as much as the fact that Wayne Gretzky may or may not have something to do with it.

A gambling ring that was financed, allegedly, by former player and coach Rick Tocchett, Gretzky’s best friend and assistant coach. It also allegedly involved a New Jersey state trooper, perhaps a dozen current NHL players and whispers of some involvement with organized crime. There is also evidence that Gretzky’s wife is involved in this fiasco. Whoops!

Wayne Gretzky, the greatest hockey player of all time in most people’s eyes, got dragged into this mess by his lovely wife, Janet Jones Gretzky. Allegedly, Ms. Gretzky likes the action. In fact, it is alleged that Ms. Gretzky wagered $500,000 over a period of 39 days and bet $100,000 on the Super Bowl, including a $5000 bet on the coin toss. Wow, she really likes the action.

Gretzky at first denied knowing anything about anything. It turns out that the FBI have wiretaps showing that Gretzky knew something about the gambling ring because he is on tape talking with Rick Tochett about keeping his and his wife’s name out of the investigation. It turns out this conversation happened just after authorities talked with Ms. Gretzky about the alleged gambling ring.

Some are now wondering if Ms. Gretzky placed bets for her husband. Some are wondering if Gretzky bet on hockey and some are wondering if, perhaps, some games have been fixed. I think those people are jumping too quickly to those conclusions. There is no evidence of any bets on hockey by anybody. There is no evidence Gretzky bet on anything.

There is evidence that perhaps Ms. Gretzky has a bit of a problem. When you bet $500,000 in a mater of 40 days, you may have a problem. I know some people like to have a little money on a game to enjoy it, but this is ridiculous. Hopefully this will show Ms. Gretzky that she might need to seek some help.

There is evidence that Wayne Gretzky is very na├»ve or at least the kind of person who has adopted a “don’t ask, don’t tell” philosophy. To not know your best friend was involved in this and to not know or be concerned your wife is gambling this much money tells me that Gretzky just doesn’t have a clue. Gretzky needs to pull his head out of the sand and tell somebody in the media what he knows and when he knew it before his reputation takes a bigger hit than it already has. If the NHL can not count on Wayne Gretzky as its paragon of virtue then all might be lost.

Hockey has just been through what many thought was the worst year of its existence with the lockout. The league did not need this to crop up, especially when it brings up the whispers and allegations of the fix being in. Will hockey survive this scandal? I believe it will because I believe we will find out that the only thing this alleged gambling ring has to do with the NHL is that players used it to place bets on other sports. We will also find out Wayne Gretzky had nothing to do with the alleged ring. Thankfully when this all comes out into the open we can go back to not caring about hockey once again.

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