Allegation hits hard

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

News Rick Tocchet could face criminal charges from an illegal gambling ring hit Brian Boucher and the rest of the Calgary Flames like a ton of bricks.

"You hope it's not true," said Boucher, the goaltender who spent most of the season with Phoenix, where Tocchet is an assistant coach.

"It's something that happens, I guess. People make mistakes.

"I don't know any details, so I can't really comment much more on it."

Tocchet was served with a criminal complaint yesterday and will answer charges of promoting gambling, money laundering and conspiracy, according to police.

Authorities allege a handful of NHL players placed bets -- but not on hockey -- with the ring that Tocchet financed.

Boucher and Mike Leclerc were part of the Coyotes until last week and both were caught off guard by the news.

"I never saw it firsthand," Boucher said.

Said Leclerc: "I'm really surprised. I didn't have any idea about it. He's a great guy. Everybody likes Toch, everybody that's played with him or played under him. He's a classy guy.

"It's unfortunate to hear he may be involved in something like this."

Flames president Ken King reserved comment on the devlopments, waiting until more information came from the authorities.

"I have no observation on a subject I have no knowledge of," King said last night.

Chris Simon, a teammate of Tocchet's in Washington, wasn't sure what to make of the news.

"I don't know anything about those allegations, so I don't have anything to say about that," Simon said.

Around the NHL, the feeling of shock was much the same.

Flyers star centre Peter Forsberg, who played for years against Tocchet, described him as "a good guy, a funny guy.

"I think everybody is surprised," Forsberg said. "It's definitely not good for the sport to hear something like that."

Flyers forward Simon Gagne played briefly with Tocchet in Philadelphia and called him "one of the best guys I knew."


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