NHL says it is investigating Roenick's ties to gambling Roenick facing scrutiny of league

Posted: August 17, 2004

The NHL has begun its own investigation into Flyers center Jeremy Roenick's admission that he paid for gambling tips and bet on football.

A Florida law-enforcement official who worked with the FBI said in Sunday's Inquirer that Roenick spent more than $100,000 for the services of a sports gambling operation in Fort Myers.

"We are following up on the facts reported in the [Inquirer]," Bill Daly, the NHL's executive vice president and chief legal officer, said yesterday. "If they are as reported, then there is nothing Jeremy Roenick did that was in violation of the league's policy."

In an interview with The Inquirer on Friday, Roenick acknowledged being a client of the gambling operation, but disputed the $100,000 figure. He said that he paid much less for the service, which provided betting tips, and that his total bets were between $50,000 and $100,000.

Daly said that any gambling assertions by club officials, players or law-enforcement agencies were not "treated lightly," and that the investigation would be conducted to protect "the integrity of the league."

Ron Ryan, the Flyers' chief operating officer, had no comment but added: "NHL security checks it out. It's part of their job."

Neither Daly nor Ryan would comment further.

League sources, however, said that the NHL had already contacted the Flyers, and that the club spoke to Roenick and his agent, Neil Abbott, yesterday morning. The league is proceeding on the assumption that Roenick did nothing illegal, as he and investigators have said.

Roenick has been humbled by the events of the last several days. He has said several times that he regrets his actions and sees himself as merely "human" - not a superstar athlete - and as someone who made a mistake and owned up to it.

One source said the NHL wants to verify that Roenick stopped gambling in January, as he said he did, after he was confronted by Flyers general manager Bob Clarke.

If the NHL finds that Roenick continued to use a betting service or gambled past January, it will recommend that Roenick enter the league's Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program.

Roenick said in yesterday's Inquirer that he doesn't need to enter the program because he quit gambling "cold turkey" last winter and is not addicted.

"It's been a dead subject for me for a long time," he said.

Contact staff writer Tim Panaccio at 215-854-2847 or tpanaccio@phillynews.com.

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