Gretzky Vegas regular

PAT HICKEY, The Gazette
Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2006
A woman friend of mine thought it was a little strange when Wayne Gretzky described his wife, actress Janet Jones, as his best friend.

But the more we learn about Jones, the more we realize that she's not just a pretty face, not just the gorgeous body that emerged from a swimming pool to make the Flamingo Kid a movie to remember.

Think about it. On Sunday night in your house, you have to watch the football game in the basement because your wife is watching Desperate Housewives in HD.

Not in the Gretzky household. Janet watches the game, and while she's guessing on the coin toss, she can tell you why the Steelers are going to cover the spread.

And football isn't her only passion.

Norm Clarke, who writes for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, said Jones enjoys playing blackjack for $1,000 a hand.

And while Wayne Gretzky has denied betting on sports, a Vegas insider said Gretzky has dropped more than $2 million in the Nevada city, where gambling is legal.

The head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes has a credit line that allows him to bet up to $25,000 a hand, but reportedly plays well below that level. At that, Gretzky would have a $1-million credit line and would be entitled to free rooms and VIP treatment.

Sources say NBA great Michael Jordan, who is well known as a big-time gambler, has a $2-million credit line in Vegas.

Gretzky's wife normally plays at the $1,000-a-hand level, a source said. Wayne and Janet usually play blackjack. The couple often plays in the MGM Grand Mansion, where guests must risk $250,000 over two or three days to stay in the high-roller suites.

Tocchet no stranger to controversy: This might not be the first time Coyotes assistant coach Rick Tocchet, who is alleged to have financed a gambling ring whose clients included National Hockey League players, Jones and other celebrities, has been mentioned in a gambling probe.

The New York Daily News reports that Tocchet's name came up during a 1990 probe into the actiivities of the Genovese crime family. No charges were filed against Tocchet at the time.

Isles eyed Tocchet: The betting scandal involving Tocchet could have been even more embarrassing for the National Hockey League if Tocchet had been a head coach when the news broke last week.

It almost happened. After Mike Milbury fired Steve Stirling as the New York Islanders coach, he put together a list of candidates for the job and Tocchet and fellow Phoenix Coyotes assistant Barry Smith were near the top.

Before Milbury could offer Tocchet the job, team owner Charles Wang decided to go in another direction. He kicked Milbury upstairs. The initial speculation was that the Isles would wait for Brent Sutter to return to Long Island as coach and general manager.

It now appears that if Sutter goes to the NHL, he'll join brother Darryl in Calgary. Dean Lombardi , the former San Jose GM, is the current favourite for Milbury's job and he'll pick the new coach.

Stormy weather: That storm that hit the eastern United States on the weekend delayed the departure of nine members of the U.S. men's hockey team.

Protesters send mixed message: Several Olympic venues have been the target of protesters opposed to multinational Olympic sponsor Coca Cola. But, one Turin official said it was difficult to take the protesters seriously, because many of them wearing Nike shoes.

She said it: "I'm telling you, all my friends say I have to get right back on the bike - and I keep saying, maybe not a bike."

  • Singer Sheryl Crow, talking about her breakup with Tour de France king Lance Armstrong.

© The Gazette (Montreal) 2006

but does he bet on the NHL?

question of the hour.

give gretzky a break i dont think he did bet

The media is just keeping it going too long.

No Gretzky didn't bet on the NHL, there are no reports saying anyone bet on the NHL, just other sports and Gretzky was not involved. He was caught on wire-tap after he was told by authorities about the gambling ring asking Tocchet what it was about.

Wow, that is a fair bit of money Wayne bets on in Vegas if this is true - $2 mill. Not making any judgements but betting this kind of money suggests that perhaps, and just perhaps, Wayne might have a bit of a wee problem with gambling.

Gretzky has to be an absolute idiot if he didn't know his assistant coach and wife are gambling. Use common sense you don't think Gretzky misses the high of winning or scoring what better way to get the feel by gambling. Mark McGwire never used steroids too. It happens what do you think the NHL players were doing with there free time during the stopage? I don't know if he bet on hockey, he could have, let the investigation play out i think its too early to tell.

Peter, I think common sense is being thrown aside because of sheer bias on many people. I hope the media keeps hounding him, he should have stayed at home and let Team Canada play their games.

Why stay home? He's the general manager, the team wants him there, and he's been accused of nothing. He's doing his job. No one has asked him to remain behind, and he is supporting the team he helped create.

The way I see it, the FBI or whoever was doing the investigation knew enough months ago to go public, but waited until the olympics were just about to start in hopes of causing distractions for the Canadian Men's Hockey team. It is just too convenient that the story broke days before the opening ceremonies and right away people started trying to nail Gretzky to the scandal and saying he should step down as Executive Director. Perhaps I am just a conspiracy theorist, but I think I make a good point.

Go Team Canada!

Stay home, let one of the other guys take over. He's a distraction as far as I'm concerned.

No Dr. Rise, I don't think you are a conspiracy theorist, what you say makes a lot of sense to me actually.

Yes, Go Canada Go!

Dr. Rise, I think you are a conspiracy theorist. I think the FBI has more to worry about than hockey and it was just a coincidence the story broke when it did.

And I agree with jm02, why should he stay home if he hasn't even been accused of anything?

Do you really think politicians are in no way interested in winning the olympics. The US is above many things a "We are better than you" country and the Olympics is the best opportunity to show the world they are the best without having to blow up a country. And do you think the FBI is not a little bit influenced by US politics. You are more than likely right. I am probably a conspiracy theorist, but to write it off as completely irrelavent is not justifiable. Not like it matters. I still think we are going to win gold, but I think the US would do anything to try to prevent that from happening again. JMO.

Go Canada!!

They can try to throw the Canadians off their game as much as they want, but we still have more talent than them. And it's just not the Canadians they have to worry about. I think they also have to worry about Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Finland, and Slovakia too, all teams I consider better than them right now.

we will win a silver medal cuz of his distraction but im still rooting for gold

You have to be kidding me, the US sabotages Canada's Olympic dreams by having the investigation. Last time i checked Jeremy Roenick was an american. This investigation has nothing to do with the olympics. The US has enough problems right now with Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan to worry about Olympic hockey. There has been more talk of the womens hockey team than the mens. The only one that is putting pressure on the great one is the media. Who do you think harassed McGwire, and Bonds with the Balco scandel, the media. Honestly there has been little talk about the gambling situation down here, see we are not Canada, 90% of americans could careless about hockey its not a religion like football and baseball.

I don't think the investigation has anything to do with team Canada's play. Those guys have played and fought advesity there whole lifes. The easiest time for them is probably when they are on the ice. The only people Canada has to worry about is the Canadian media harassing the players.

seems like the G's will be getting off with a slap on the hand.