Wild's Vanek tied to illegal gambling probe in New York


Newly signed Minnesota Wild winger Thomas Vanek has been connected to a gambling probe in New York.

Vanek was at the courthouse in Rochester, New York, on Monday, according to the city's NBC Affiliate News 10.

News 10 reports a law enforcement source indicates the former Gopher is connected to an investigation at the Marina Restaurant and Bar in Charlotte, New York.

Last month, a New York grand jury returned a 23-count indictment against three owners of the establishment. Paul Borrelli, 66, and Joseph Ruff, 32, both of Rochester, New York, and Mark Ruff, 40, of Connecticut, are charged with running an illegal gambling operation.

Vanek and his attorney Joel Daniels were spotted leaving the courthouse. Neither offered a comment about why they were there, but Vanek is not facing any charges.

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Vanek released a statement through his agent Steve Bartlett.

"Representatives of the U.S. Federal Government have asked for my cooperation in an investigation. I am not the subject of any investigation or prosecution. I will fully cooperate with the U.S. Federal authorities in their investigation or in any proceedings arising out of it."

Bartlett also told News 10 that Vanek was simply a witness to a federal case.

On July 1st, Vanek signed a three-year $19.5 million contract with the Minnesota Wild. He had spent parts of nine seasons with the Buffalo Sabers, before being traded twice last season.

According to Hockey Wilderness, Vanek spent the 2004-05 season with the Rochester Americans. A teammate of his in Rochester, Nathan Paetsch was "involved in a partnership" that owns five commercial properties, as well as the Marina Restaurant and Bar.

According to the Star Tribune's Michael Russo, the Wild are aware of Vanek's cooperation, but the team had no additional comment.

Russo reports NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said the league is looking into the matter, but also had no comment.

Vanek's 277 career goals rank eighth in the NHL since the start of the 2005-06 season. His 113 power-play goals rank third over that span.

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