Thursday, February 09, 2006

Rick Tocchet to take leave, indefinetely.

Sportsnet has learned Wayne Gretzky's wife, Janet Jones, is expected to release a public statement on Thursday.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Rick Tocchet was granted an indefinite leave of absence Wednesday night by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, a day after the Phoenix Coyotes assistant coach was accused of financing a nationwide gambling ring that took bets from about a half-dozen current players.
Tocchet met with Bettman and requested the leave, which the commissioner agreed to as long as several conditions were met by the former all-star player.Tocchet, who works under Coyotes head coach Wayne Gretzky, must immediately cease all contact and communication with all NHL and team personnel and stay away for the duration of his leave. He will not be allowed to return without Bettman's consent.The commissioner also reserves the right to change the terms of Tocchet's absence at any time."We view the charges against Mr. Tocchet in the most serious terms," Bettman said in a statement. "We have pledged our full cooperation to the New Jersey State Police and the New Jersey Attorney General's Office."While we are conducting our own investigation, we have made clear to the law enforcement authorities in New Jersey that we will do nothing to interfere with their ongoing investigation."The NHL hired former federal prosecutor Robert J. Cleary, who headed the Unabomber case to investigate Tocchet.Tocchet, a Toronto native, came to the meeting with his new lawyer, who officially informed Bettman and Cleary of the pending charges that Tocchet is facing.

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