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Sunday, August 15, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Sports Briefing

Roenick's gambling habits under scrutiny

Hockey

Flyers' Roenick acknowledges betting on sports: As investigators sifted through mounds of evidence from a Florida sports-gambling operation, they were startled to recognize the name of one of the firm's clients — Philadelphia Flyers center Jeremy Roenick.

They found records showing Roenick was paying large sums to National Sports Consultants, an operation that made millions by selling sports-betting tips to gamblers, law-enforcement officials said.

Roenick paid the firm "somewhere north of $100,000," said Lee County Sheriff's Capt. Mike Johnston, who worked with the FBI on the case. Eleven of the firm's handicappers, or "touts," have pleaded guilty to federal gambling charges. They got in trouble for falsely claiming to have inside information about games and for taking kickbacks from offshore Internet casinos.

After the FBI raided the Fort Myers, Fla.-based service in April, investigators started asking questions about Roenick, trying to find out whether he had bet on the Flyers or any other NHL team. They dropped their inquiry after finding no evidence that he had.

In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Roenick acknowledged that he was a client of the firm and had bet on sports for years. But he disputed the $100,000 figure, saying he had paid the Fort Myers operation much less for tips. He said his total bets were between $50,000 and $100,000.

"I enjoyed it, but I don't think I had a problem," Roenick said. "I shut it off cold turkey."

Roenick said he stopped gambling in January after a warning from Flyers general manager Bob Clarke, who had heard locker-room chatter that Roenick was betting on sports. Roenick, 34, said the Flyers did not know about his association with the Florida service.

Unlike the NFL, the NHL does not ban players from betting on team sports — other than hockey — or associating with gamblers.

Roenick said he believes other professional athletes regularly bet on sports.

"I think it goes through all sports, but who knows?" he said. "I just hope and pray that no one is stupid enough to bet on the sport they're involved in."

Roenick said he never bet on hockey, and never talked to the Florida touts about hockey.

"Never, no way. It never came up. Never once in a conversation," Roenick said. "Never, never, never. I can't stress never enough."

Coyotes re-sign Langkow: The Phoenix Coyotes signed center Daymond Langkow to a one-year contract worth $2.95 million, hours before a scheduled arbitration hearing.

Amateur players suffer carbon-monoxide poisoning: Eight amateur female players in Kladno, Czech Republic, were poisoned by carbon monoxide, apparently from fumes leaked by the ice-resurfacing machine. Officials said the women were in stable condition at a hospital.

Bass fishing

Spokane's Clausen lands top prize: Luke Clausen of Spokane completed a four-day sweep to win the FLW Tour Championship — and the sport's top prize of $500,000 — on Logan Martin Lake near Birmingham, Ala.

On the final day of competition, the 26-year-old Clausen caught five bass that weighed a total of 14 pounds, 10 ounces. Overall, the rookie pro caught 55 pounds of bass during the event.

Clausen is the youngest FLW Tour Championship winner.

NBA

Media organizations seek release of sealed Bryant documents: Attorneys for 12 news organizations asked the judge in the Kobe Bryant sexual-assault case to release about three dozen documents, saying they were improperly filed under seal.

Media attorneys said District Judge Terry Ruckriegle had directed attorneys to file significant requests as public documents but keep the details of supporting evidence secret.

College basketball

Dunphy turns down La Salle: Pennsylvania men's coach Fran Dunphy rejected an offer from La Salle to fill the Explorers' vacant coaching position.

Tennis

Granville, Vaidisova advance: Fourth-seeded Laura Granville of Chicago beat unseeded Camille Pin of France 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-4 to reach today's final of the Vancouver Open in British Columbia.

Granville will face unseeded Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic, who upset third-seeded Alina Jidkova of Russia 7-5, 3-6, 6-4.

Pennetta prevails: Italy's Flavia Pennetta won the Idea Prokom Open for her first WTA Tour title, beating Klara Koukalova of the Czech Republic 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 in Sopot, Poland.

French Open champion Anastasia Myskina withdrew before the semifinals because of a rib injury.

Seattle Times news services

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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