The Hockey Writers and the NHL Alumni Association have teamed up on a new series here at the site – Ask the Alumni. It provides us with the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the business ventures and great charitable work done by the NHL Alumni members, and it gives our readers the opportunity to be a part of the interviews. Each month, a different NHL Alumni member will join us here at The Hockey Writers for an interview and you provide some of the questions.
We have had a great response for our first guests — Lanny McDonald and Georges Laraque — and this month’s NHL Alumni guest is equally exciting! He has faced many challenges in life and in his hockey career. However, his perseverance, dedication and a newfound inner-strength has helped him rise above it all as a player and as a person.
The Hockey Writers is pleased to announce that our next NHL Alumni guest is Theoren Fleury.
We cannot promise that we will be able to use every question submitted, but if you have a question for Theoren Fleury, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 9, 2011.
In his book Playing with Fire (October 2009 – HarperCollins), Fleury describes the moment when he stepped onto the ice for the first time as a five-year-old, how the feeling of gliding on the ice seemed so natural. A star in junior hockey, he was told he would never make it to the National Hockey League because he was too small. Knowing that he was destined to be in the league, he worked hard to master the game. With his never-quit attitude, along with having the heart of a champion, Fleury overcame tremendous obstacles and ultimately reached his goal.
He not only made it to the NHL, he excelled in the league; Fleury played in 1,084 games, scoring 455 goals and adding 633 assists with the Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers and the Chicago Blackhawks. He was also a proven playoff performer with 79 points in 77 games. In his first year with the Flames, Fleury was a big part of the 1989 Stanley Cup victory that brought the Cup to Calgary for the first and only time in the franchise’s history. A former 50-goal scorer, induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame may be on the horizon for the seven-time All-Star.
Fleury also represented Canada in International play, winning a gold medal at the 1988 World Junior Championship, the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics and the 1991 Canada Cup. He also has silver medals from the 1991 World Championship and the 1996 World Cup.
His difficult upbringing and substance abuse problems have been well documented, and Fleury openly discusses these issues in Playing with Fire, which is a must read for any hockey fan. The physical abuse by one of his coaches during his teen years eventually led to substance abuse, and this has plagued him for much of his life and certainly affected his personal life and hockey career. After finding sobriety and perhaps peace for the first time, Fleury made an amazing comeback attempt in 2009 with the Flames. While he fell short of returning to the NHL after a six-year absence, it gave him the opportunity to retire as a member of the Calgary Flames.
Theo Fleury inspired many during his career and continues to do so in his post-hockey career. He shares stories from his personal life and time in the NHL as a keynote speaker, to teach and remind people that any obstacle, any challenge in life, can be overcome. He has also worked diligently to help raise awareness and funds to help battle Crohn’s Disease, an illness he was diagnosed with in 1995.
We will be taking questions until January 9, 2011 at email@example.com