LAWFUEL – Law Newswire – Former NHL player Rick Tocchet has been order…

LAWFUEL – Law Newswire – Former NHL player Rick Tocchet has been ordered to serve two years probation for his role in an illegal sports gambling ring.

The 43-year-old could have received up to five years in a U.S. state prison. However, there is a presumption against incarceration for first-time offenders who plead guilty to third- or fourth-degree crimes.

That means the retired Philadelphia Flyer is unlikely to serve any time for his crimes, said Mark Eliades, the deputy attorney general who prosecuted the case.

Under terms of Tocchet’s plea deal, the state made no sentencing recommendation, leaving it to the discretion of the court.

Tocchet’s lawyer, Kevin Marino, said his client long ago acknowledged having made a mistake by becoming involved in illegal gambling. Marino pointed out that the more sensational allegations in the case – including rumours of mob ties and game fixing – never materialized.

Before being sentenced yesterday, Tocchet told the judge, “I’m sorry to the court, my family and friends I was involved in this.”

An assistant coach with the Phoenix Coyotes under legendary Wayne Gretzky, Tocchet partnered with a New Jersey state trooper and another man in a sports-betting venture they ran for five years. He has been on indefinite leave from his job since being charged, but Marino said Tocchet hopes to return to the sport now that the case has been resolved.

James Harney, the trooper who has since been forced to give up his badge, was sentenced earlier this month to five years in prison. The other man, James Ulmer, will be sentenced next Friday.

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