Heavens to Gretzky - a new lotto

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 9:47 AM ET

"The Great One" has put himself up as a lottery prize, four months after his wife and assistant coach were targeted for gambling by American authorities.

British Columbia Lottery Corporation's newest $5 SportsFunder instant play game offers a chance to win a Great Day with Wayne Gretzky. Top cash prize in the lottery is $99,000. The ticket and an advertising campaign featuring Gretzky were launched Friday.

BCLC vice-president Jim Lightbody said he met Gretzky when they golfed in the same group during last summer's World Junior Hockey Championship charity tournament.

"The greatest experience I've had in my life was spending the day with the Great One," Lightbody said. "Everyone said 'Wow, do you think we could do that?'"

Gretzky's Phoenix Coyotes' assistant coach Rick Tocchet was charged in February with running a gambling ring that allegedly involved Gretzky's wife Janet Jones.

Lightbody said there was never any hesitation on Gretzky's behalf to participate because he's a booster of Canadian amateur sports. How much of a supporter is a mystery. Gretzky is being paid an undisclosed fee and it's not known whether he'll donate it to any amateur sports organizations in B.C. that benefit from SportsFunder.

"I can't tell you what he's going to do with his portion of the money," Lightbody said.

Gretzky was unavailable for comment.


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