Great One takes a fall

Gambling on sports has always been and always will be a hot button topic in this area of the country. Generations upon generations will talk about the raw deal Pete Rose received from Major League Baseball. We always wondered why Rose would do such a stupid thing and then we wondered how in the world he would let himself get caught. We thought no one would ever experience our pain.

The National Hockey League was caught in a serious pickle last season when their entire organization decided to close up shop for an entire year.

In a country where football and baseball dominate the public interest, there should have been no way that the NHL would ever come out of the dark shadow that was cast upon it. The labor dispute among an irrelevant sport in the United States was among the silliest things in history. And believe it or not, they were doing a decent job rebuilding their image up until next week. Then along came Phoenix Coyotes Assistant Coach Rick Tocchet and the NHL’s poster boy, Wayne Gretzky.

Gretzky, known as The Great One, was accused of knowing about his wife’s alleged participation in the biggest gambling bust in NHL history. The problem is that Gretzky claims that he didn’t know about any illegal gambling ring and that any assumption that he did was false.

How could Gretzky not know about something this huge? The amount of money that was supposedly involved was in the hundred millions. I’m sure the Gretzky Family has plenty of money to go around, but how much would have to come up missing from the bank account for The Great One to notice? $500,000? $1 million dollars? $10 millions dollars? His wife, Janet Jones-Gretzky, has her own money, but obviously not the kind of cash to keep someone from squealing to the authorities about what was going on. The Great One was also heard in conversation with the alleged financier of the entire operation. Not good news if you’re trying to get yourself out of the situation.

The one problem with all of this is that the story has barely made headlines in the wake of the Olympics. That should say enough about the popularity of the NHL. Steroids were a headline story for three months. Rose is a huge story every year someone else is elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The sad thing about all of this from a fan’s standpoint is the amount of national attention that it is getting, which is miniscule. This should be a bigger story than it is. The fact that it’s not speaks out loudly against the NHL.