Noted sports bettor and former NHL player Jeremy Roenick, appearing on a network television hockey program Saturday, made a wager on-air with another analyst about an upcoming NHL playoff game!
Appearing Saturday afternoon on NBCSN's pre-game show for the upcoming NHL playoff game between the Washington Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs, Roenick and fellow hockey analyst Anson Carter were discussing a just-completed game, the Ottawa Senators' 4-3 overtime win at home against the Boston Bruins in Game 2 of that playoff series.
Roenick expressed the opinion that with the series moving to Boston for the next two games, the Bruins would get back on track and win Game 3 at home.
Carter sharply disagreed, opining that the Senators now had momentum with the big overtime win--they had come from two goals down in the third period to tie the game and then win in OT--and would win Game 3.
Roenick then offered to bet Carter "five dollars" on the game.
Carter accepted the wager.
Show host Kathryn Tappen then laughed and repeated "five dollars," as if to know that five dollars for Roenick likely meant $5,000--or more.
Roenick, who retired from the NHL in 2009 after an 18-year career that saw him play for five teams, was investigated by the NHL in 2004 for gambling on sports.
The investigation showed that he had bet on sports, but never on hockey, and since only hockey betting was against NHL rules at the time, he was allowed to continue his career (and advised to stop all sports betting).
Among the NHL's findings on Roenick was that he had paid more than $100,000 to a sports handicapping service in Florida for selections on football and basketball games.
In 2006, a criminal investigation centered in New Jersey that probed a nationwide illegal sports betting ring and was dubbed "Operation Slapshot," most famously identified Rick Tocchet, then an NHL assistant coach, as a "runner" or someone who worked for bookies collecting from and paying bettors.
The probe also revealed that Wayne Gretzky's wife, Janet, and Roenick were major bettors in the ring.
Roenick again was not punished by the NHL and allowed to continue his career.
One person not surprised by Roenick's on-air wager Saturday is Dale "Philly Prince" Stickel, a Pennsylvania sports handicapper whose recent exploits with an attorney who tried to run him over have been documented by Gambling 911.
"Before I started my own handicapping firm I worked for a handicapping company in Florida, the same company Roenick used," Stickel said.
"I used to talk to him on the phone all the time, giving him plays," he said. "Plays on college and pro football and basketball, but never any plays on hockey. We won a lot of money for him. He told me he was betting $10,000 to $20,000 a game with a local bookie."
Stickel said he suspected at the time that despite not buying any hockey plays, Roenick was wagering on NHL games.
"Just because he wasn't getting hockey plays doesn't mean he wasn't betting hockey," Stickel said. "He didn't need NHL plays. He was in the NHL."
Stickel also said Roenick sometimes gave him betting tips--on NHL totals.
Roenick, who was playing for the Philadelphia Flyers at the time of his interactions with the "Philly Prince," would predict that a game he was playing in that night would likely go over or under the listed total.
"He only gave me a few tips on totals but each time they won," Stickel said. "I bet those games real big."
As for Roenick's on-air bet on television Saturday with Carter, Stickel said he suspects the "five dollars" the men wagered really meant $5,000--or more.
"I wouldn't be surprised if Roenick is still betting on sports, including hockey, and is wagering with his on-air TV partner," Stickel said. "And I wouldn't be surprised if he was betting five dimes a game, or 10 or even 20 dimes, with him. Those guys make millions of dollars being on TV, so $5,000 is nothing to them.
"What was a little surprising, however, is how blatant Roenick was, making a bet live on television, even if it was supposedly only for five bucks," Stickel said. "But what does he care? He's no longer in the NHL."
By Tom Somach
Gambling 911 Staff Writer