WHEC-TV in Rochester, N.Y. is reporting (and has video) that recently-signed Wild winger and former Buffalo Sabre and Rochester Amerk Thomas Vanek was in federal court today in upstate New York as part of an ongoing gambling investigation.
According to the station, Vanek's appearance stems from the June arrest of three owners/managers of the Marina Restaurant and Bar in Charlotte, N.Y. on gambling and money laundering charges. The three men were allegedly conducting an illegal gambling business out of the bar since January 2012 (see above links and this article).
The TV station reports, "Vanek is not charged with any crime and he voluntarily came to the federal court building with his lawyer."
In a statement sent to me by Vanek's agent Steve Bartlett, Vanek said, "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 said Vanek is a witness in a federal case and, "No further comment on the matter will be made at this time."
I contacted NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and he said, "We are looking into it, but have no comment at this time."
In a statement, the Wild said, “We are aware of Thomas Vanek's cooperation with a federal investigation and have no further comment at this time. We direct you to Thomas' earlier statement ... "
Vanek, 30, played for Rochester in 2004-05 and played nine seasons for the Sabres before being traded last season to the Islanders, then the Canadiens. On July 1, the former Gophers star signed a three-year, $19.5 million contract with the Wild. His 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.
Vanek lives fulltime in the Twin Cities.
In other news, former Wild defenseman Nate Prosser has agreed to a one-year, two-way deal with the St. Louis Blues. Prosser, 28, the Elk River native and former Colorado College product, played 126 games for the Wild over parts of five seasons.
I'll be filling in for Paul Allen on KFAN (100.3-FM) on Tuesday from 9-noon. Lots of Wild, Vikes, Wolves, Twins, Gophers talk.
Guests: Singer/songwriter Eric Hutchinson, actor/comedian Erik Stolhanske, Wild defenseman Christian Folin, Minnesota United FC midfielder Jamie Watson, Minnesota Daily Gophers beat writer Jack Satzinger and Fox Sports North's Tom Hanneman. Joe Anderson and Cities97's Paul Fletcher will also join for parts of the show.