For all the wrong reasons though. I never paid a minute about hockey this season but now I want to know more about "Operation Slapshot" everyday. I'm sure I'm not the only one.
If the NHL wanted exposure and have it front page news after enduring such a long lockout, they got their wish. They should have probably been a bit more specific when they prayed to the sports gods. This could be the biggest sports story of the year depending on all the facts that are revealed.
What makes the story bigger than big is that golden boy Wayne Gretzky is involved. So far we have Wayne denying any knowledge about the gambling ring. Then on Thursday reports have him on wiretaps speaking with Rick Tocchet. Uh oh Wayne. Now we want to know if Wayne did place any bets. More importantly did he bet on hockey. It's hard to fathom the greatest hockey player ever would be mentioned in the same breath as Pete Rose.
High roller Janet Jones finally made a statement as released by the Coyotes on Thursday to try and clear her husband's name.
"At no time did I ever place a wager on my husband's behalf, period. Other than the occasional horse race, my husband does not bet on any sports."
It helps but it's not enough. His name is even harder to clear because he lied about knowing of the ring to start. He did come out yesterday and made his boldest statement yet.
"No way. If I had ever bet so much as a penny on sports I would call Bob Nicholson (president of Hockey Canada) and resign."
"If I bet on sports – I would never embarrass Team Canada or the country or hockey – I would phone (NHL commissioner) Gary Bettman and Bob Nicholson right now and say you know what, I resign, it's over, even if I made a $1 bet,".
"I wouldn't even go into a sports book in Vegas. Even though it's legal, I would never do that. That's how serious I am."
"Thanks to the Steelers for paying off my Ferrari"
Okay the last one I made up.
The strange just gets stranger. It's reported Coyotes general manager Mike Barnett, Gretzky's former agent, also placed a bet through Tocchet. So the GM knew about it. Great job boss. He bet a few hundred dollars on the Super Bowl. Barnett is not a focus of the investigation however. When the story broke Tuesday, Barnett called commissioner Gary Bettman to let him know he made a small wager but it was a one time thing. His reason for betting was to spice up the Super Bowl. It's understandable because the Super Bowl is the most bet on sporting event of the year. Even I knew people who didn't know a field goal from a punt put money on the game.
If Wayne is innocent he needs to explain why his wife was betting $500,000 in a 39 day period. I know he's rich but $500,000 is still a lot of money to a lot of rich people. If they felt $500,000 was burning a hole in their pockets they should have donated it to charity, put it in a college fund, or renovated the house. We just want the whole story. So people need to start talking.
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