I used to think of Theo Fleury as one of the most entertaining professional hockey players employed in the National Hockey League. I used to think he was one of the biggest pests as well. When one thinks of Theo Fleury and all that he brought to an NHL franchise, there was the very good and the unfortunate bad.
The skill, speed, grit and sometimes off-the-chart energy levels provided by Fleury entertained fans and helped numerous NHL teams achieve success, most notably the Calgary Flames in 1989 when they claimed the ultimate prize, Lord Stanley’s cup. Theo was a player that every single opponent needed to be well aware of at all times. Players loved to play with him, but certainly not against him.
At the same time, there was a personal issue away from the rink which eventually drove Theo Fleury away from hockey for good. An issue that can cause even our greatest heroes to retire early, fade into the shadows, and sometimes even ends their lives: alcohol and drug abuse. Years went by as Fleury battled his demons and unfortunately the problem worsened. It was time for Theo to step away from the game and fix this problem with hopes of eventually returning to the league he loved with unfinished business.
Today, we welcome back the 5’6 182lbs veteran, as a tryout is officially on the table with the Calgary Flames. Commissioner Gary Bettman lifted the indefinite suspension imposed on Fleury after a lengthy face to face meeting with him this summer. The reinstatement of Theo Fleury is a second chance for the 41 year old veteran. It’s also a chance for the Calgary Flames to potentially add a once dangerous threat to the opening night 23 man roster.
Where Theo Fleury will fit into New Head Coach Brent Sutter’s plans, is yet to be seen, and only time will tell. One thing we do know is this, Theo Fleury is back in the NHL, and it’s on good terms. Theo has a tough road ahead of him if a contract is to be signed, but the truth of the matter is, the toughest part of the battle is over, it’s all up hill from here. Welcome back Theo, the NHL has gained back a popular face and the Calgary Flames have an opportunity to do just that as well.
- Darren Coslov