“I’m a Big Boy”: Vigorously Denying Involvement in Infamous Scandal, Wayne Gretzky Made a Distraught Confession in 2006

Published 01/07/2023, 6:00 PM EST

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Wayne Gretzky might be the world’s greatest Ice-Hockey player, but even he couldn’t evade a controversy when the media got hold of him once. In 2006, Gretzky’s wife, actress Janet Jones, was entangled in a serious scandal that rocked their entire family. Gretzky, however, stood strong by his wife, denying any allegations. As a result, their family came out even stronger.

In 2006, speaking to reporters, Gretzky called his wife innocent and completely denied the rumors of her involvement in the scandal. He debased those rumors and took a sly dig at journalists for thriving on such news when they could’ve been talking about sports or Gretzky himself. Here’s an in-depth analysis of the controversy and Janet Jones’ implications in it.

Wayne Gretzky’s wife got tangled in a scandal and the media were after them


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Janet Jones, along with 6 other NHL players had allegedly placed bets in a gambling ring but not on Hockey. Gretzky vehemently denied those rumors and just said “absolutely not”, when reporters asked him if she had placed bets for him. While he did talk to his wife that night, they didn’t necessarily get into a discussion on this sensitive subject.


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As per ESPN, he said to reporters, “We didn’t get into it other than she was concerned about Rick and she felt it was a tough situation with him”. Gretzky didn’t completely ignore the rumors about his wife’s involvement though. He said, “She would sit down at some point and answer questions that everybody has for her and be her own person”.

Gretzky was coaching the Phoenix Coyotes for the first time, while also managing the turmoil in his family. He was thus, naturally annoyed at the persistence of the media to get an answer out of him. He said, “I’m standing here trying to answer questions, and it’s not even me this is about. It’s the frustrating, hard part for me, but I understand. I’m a big boy, and you guys have a responsibility and a job to do, and that’s fine”. Gretzky once again proved his larger-than-life persona for the manner in which he handled those reporters with grace.

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This would stop the media from bugging him temporarily. But who is ‘Rick’ and what is his role in this? Let’s find out.

Tocchet was accused of orchestrating it but Gretzky supports him nonetheless

Rick Tocchet was a former NHL player and was the assistant coach of the Phoenix Coyotes under Gretzky. They found Tocchet to be guilty in this whole operation. He was charged with promoting gambling, money laundering, and conspiracy. In a four-month investigation dubbed ‘Operation Slapshot’, officers discovered more than 1,000 wagers that exceeded $1.7 million in total, over a 40-day period. All these exchanges were from a New Jersey gambling ring associated with Tocchet.


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Gretzky said about Tocchet, “Everyone in the world is innocent until proven guilty”, standing by his friend. His wife eventually came out of it unharmed, and they remain a strong couple to date with a solid family behind them.


Written by:

Tanmay Roy


One take at a time

Tanmay Roy is a US Sports author for EssentiallySports. He has done MBA and B.Tech in Civil Engineering.
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Edited by:

Anupama Ghosh