The fairy-tale comeback is over and number 14 is “leaving it better than he found it.”
Local hero and fan favourite Theo Fleury, 41, hung up his skates as a proud Calgary Flame in an emotionally charged press conference yesterday, three days after he was released by the hockey club.
“As I left the Saddledome Friday, I knew that this part of my life had finally come to an end.
The emotions I felt were those of someone who left it all on the table,” Fleury said as he read from a prepared statement with wife, Jennifer, at his side.
Fleury, who battled alcoholism during his career, attempted his comeback after being reinstated by the league shortly before the start of the Flames’ training camp. He had four points in four pre-season games, even scoring a shootout winner against the New York Islanders.
“As I say goodbye today, I am at peace. I don’t have anything left to prove to myself,” he said.
An emotional Fleury thanked his parents, two brothers, wife and four children, and he also had a strong message for his fans.
“How many athletes can say they left the playing field to a standing ovation? I want you all to know I could not sign with another team. I get to retire as a Calgary Flame.”
Fleury said he will spend time with his family and focus on his upcoming book tour, but he also discussed with the Flames a role in the organization.
“Getting the opportunity to retire as a Calgary Flame is what everybody wanted to see. They gave me an amazing opportunity to live out this lifelong dream.”