Confirmed: Nick Roberto suspended for 2015-16 season

Junior forward Nick Roberto, who has not played a game for the Boston University men’s hockey team this season, has been suspended and will not play for the remainder of the season, sources confirmed to The Daily Free Press.

Roberto has been out of the lineup for BU as part of a team suspension.

College Hockey News was the first to report this story.

From CHN:

“According to several sources, Roberto’s suspension is the result of gambling activity he participated in during last season. Sources indicate that Roberto was not the only BU player involved, though those players are no longer with the hockey program. The identity of those players could not be confirmed. Other sources have indicated that players from other teams were involved, too.”

BU released a statement saying, “Beyond confirming that Mr. Roberto will not play for the Boston University hockey team this season, federal privacy laws prevent us from discussing his status.

“However, we can say that several months ago, we heard rumors that a BU hockey player had engaged in gambling. Although the rumors did not involve gambling on either college or professional hockey games, we nonetheless immediately conducted a thorough investigation and turned the results over to the appropriate authorities at the NCAA. Based on that investigation, the NCAA made its own findings and took remedial action, and we would refer you to that organization for further information.”

CHN’s report also cited the NCAA’s rule that “a player who is found gambling on any sporting event, amateur or pro in any sport, via a ‘bookie’ or the Internet, faces a minimum one-year suspension,” adding that for some of the players involved, “the gambling activities incurred ‘large’ debts, which eventually led to the situation coming to light.”

The report also said this instance of gambling at BU could be tied to a Massachusetts gambling ring that was broken up last month by state and federal investigators:

“In a 122-count indictment handed down after a year-long investigation, 33 people were indicted by a grand jury as part of the operation, which was based out of Boston and the South Shore. One of those was Keith O’Connell, who, sources indicate, is the same Keith O’Connell that is a former defenseman at Boston College and Massachusetts.

“O’Connell was charged with registering bets, using the telephone to register bets and conspiracy to commit money laundering.”

In addition, per a report from WEEI.com, “Roberto is not currently being investigated by any law enforcement agencies. He is still enrolled at BU and still a member of the hockey team, and that is not expected to change.”

CHN wrote that Emily James, a spokesperson for the NCAA, said “the NCAA will have no comment regarding a potential investigation into the BU hockey program stemming from the alleged gambling.”

She could not be reached for immediate comment when The Daily Free Press tried.