During the Coyotes' first decade in Arizona, they were the three most popular players to slip on a Phoenix sweater. They all played on the same line for two seasons, when Phoenix had its best teams and annually reached the playoffs.
But now Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick and Rick Tocchet all have something else in common: They have been implicated in some sort of gambling allegation over the years.
Tocchet became the latest Tuesday, accused by New Jersey authorities with financing an illegal sports betting ring that took in millions from clients that included several NHL players and at least one Hollywood heavyweight. Tocchet was served with a criminal complaint Monday and is expected to appear in a New Jersey court to answer charges of promoting gambling, money laundering and conspiracy, New Jersey state police Col. Rick Fuentes said.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday that Roenick, along with Janet Jones — wife of Coyotes coach and managing partner Wayne Gretzky — are among those who placed bets with the betting ring.
This comes more than a year after Roenick admitted to paying the Florida firm National Sports Consultants between $50,000 and $100,000 for inside tips on football and basketball wagers he made with offshore Internet casinos. Investigators found no evidence that Roenick bet on hockey or was engaged in any illegal activity.
"I enjoyed it, but I don't think I have a (gambling) problem. I shut it off cold turkey," Roenick said at the time.
Tkachuk's link was more distant. In 1997, he was accused by an Edmonton gambler of placing illegal bets on football games through a Boston-based bookie during the 1995-96 season. A Canadian judge originally awarded the gambler, Rajesh Kummer Sabharwal, a $200,000 judgment against Tkachuk. But an NHL inquiry found the allegations to be "meritless,” and Tkachuk eventually had the judgement overturned.