Stephen M. Silverman
February 10, 2006 10:00 AM

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky is standing firm in his position that he had nothing to do with the gambling ring bust that has New Jersey state authorities investigating his wife, assistant coach Rick Tocchet and NHL players.

During a brief press conference Thursday night, the Phoenix Coyotes head coach also shed no light on the wiretap recordings that have him talking to Tocchet, the ring’s alleged financier, about how Gretzky’s wife, onetime Playboy cover girl Janet Jones, could avoid being implicated.

“I didn’t bet,” he said. “It didn’t happen. It’s not going to happen. It hasn’t happened. It’s not something that I’ve done.”

Gretzky, 45, did not mention his wife and did not take questions at the newsgathering, reports the Associated Press. He did say, however, that he wasn’t involved in the scandal.

“I’ve felt like the last three days I’ve defended myself over something that absolutely, unequivocally, I was not involved with,” Gretzky said, adding that he planned to stay with the Coyotes and attend the Turin Olympics as Team Canada’s executive director.

“I hope you appreciate that these three days have been horrible. I’m just too tired mentally and physically to talk any more about it. There’s nothing more for me to talk about. And if you have questions for people involved, contact them.”

Authorities say from Dec. 29 through Feb. 5, bettors wagered a total of $1.7 million with the ring run by a New Jersey state trooper, Tocchet and a South Jersey man. All face charges of promoting gambling, money laundering and conspiracy and are scheduled to be arraigned in Superior Court in Mount Holly on Feb. 21, according to the state Attorney General’s office.

Elliot Mintz, a spokesman for Jones, said in a statement that she may be called as a witness before a grand jury in New Jersey. “Janet is merely one of a number of witnesses, and there is no allegation whatsoever that Janet has violated any law,” he said.

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