Bettman to seek out the truth

AL STRACHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

HENDERSON, Nev. -- The National Hockey League takes a grave view of allegations of a widespread betting ring, and has laid the groundwork for its own investigation, commissioner Gary Bettman said yesterday.

Speaking after the league's general managers adjourned their meeting, Bettman said, "I have retained Robert Cleary who is a former U.S. attorney for New Jersey to do an internal investigation for us and I'll be meeting with him first thing tomorrow morning.

"It's something that we take very seriously and we're going to have to look into it on our own. We don't have much more information really than has been publicly available. Certainly we don't condone conduct like that."

Bettman feels a number of issues have to be considered. Was the gambling legal or illegal? Did it involve hockey or just other sports?

"You're not supposed to be doing things that are illegal," he said. "There is widespread legal gambling throughout the world, but the fact of the matter is bookmaking activities and other illegal conduct go beyond the pale.

"Obviously, to the extent that there's any gambling in any form, legal or otherwise, involving NHL games, that's a completely different story, although there appears to be no allegations here that NHL games have been implicated."

Bettman said even though the NHL has its own security department, he only learned of the investigation, "within the last day."

"Obviously when there's a large organization and we don't have our own police force, it's very difficult to monitor every aspect of anybody's behaviour at any given time, and so I think what we have to continue to do is make sure that people associated with the game know what is expected of them."

Bettman said he has spoken to NHL Players' Association executive director Ted Saskin about the allegations. "He pledged full co-operation," he said.

Bettman said he does not expect to act against any players until Cleary's investigation is complete. "Once we have a definitive report from him to the extent he's able to do things," then we'll react," he said. "We're not going to react on the basis of half measures."


Videos

Photos