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Tocchet gets probation

Former NHL player and Phoenix Coyote assistant coach Rick Tocchet was sentenced to two years' probation today for his role in an illegal bookmaking operation that operated out of South Jersey and Philadelphia.

Tocchet, 43, pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy and promoting gambling. His sentence reflected that he was a first-time offender, a prosecutor said. Two other men were charged, including a state trooper who was already sentenced to five years in prison but may be eligible for parole sooner than that. The third man hasn't been sentenced.

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Tocchet's case attracted huge attention last year when it first surfaced as "Operation Slapshot" in part because he was working for hockey great Wayne Gretzky in Phoenix and Gretzky's wife, actress Janet Jones, was reported to be a client of the bookmaking operation. Gretzky insisted he was not involved and investigators never linked him to the gambling. There were also no indications that bets were placed on hockey -- mostly, it seemed, the wagering was on NFL games. Tocchet has been on indefinite leave from his coaching job.

Photo credit: Mel Evans/AP


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