|5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)|
180 lb (82 kg)
|Teams||Calgary Flames (1988–1999)|
Colorado Avalanche (1999)
New York Rangers (1999–2002)
Chicago Blackhawks (2002–2003)
|Born||June 29, 1968,|
Oxbow, SK, CAN
|NHL Draft||166th overall, 1987|
|Pro Career||1987 – 2006|
Theoren Wallace "Theo" Fleury (born June 29, 1968 in Oxbow, Saskatchewan, Canada) is a retired international and professional player of Metis heritage. Fleury was drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 8th round, 166th overall, of the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. He played over 1000 games in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Flames, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks.
At times the smallest player in the NHL, Fleury played a physical style, often leading to altercations. As a junior, he was at the centre of the infamous Punch-up in Piestany, a brawl that saw both Canada and the Soviet Union disqualified from the 1987 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships. Once considered a long shot to play in the NHL due to his size, Fleury ultimately scored 1000 points while winning the Stanley Cup in 1989 with the Flames, and a gold medal in the 2002 Olympic Games.
In 1996, Fleury was diagnosed with Crohn's disease. He battled drug and alcohol addictions throughout his career, which ultimately forced him out of the NHL in 2003. After cleaning up, he played one season in the British Elite Ice Hockey League in 2005–06 before retiring from hockey.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Theoren was born on June 29, 1968. His father, Wally, of French heritage, was himself a hockey player whose dreams of a professional career ended when he broke his leg playing baseball in the summer of 1963, an injury that helped fuel a drinking problem. The Fleurys moved to Williams Lake, British Columbia for four years, where Theo's brother Ted was born in 1970, before returning to the prairies, settling in Russell, Manitoba by 1973, the year his youngest brother Travis was born. Wally worked as a truck driver and maintenance worker at the arena in Russell.
Theoren grew up skating and playing hockey at every opportunity, often accompanying his father to the arena in Russell in the pre-dawn hours. He was described by his teachers as a determined youth, who would repeat any activity he failed at until he got it right.
Playing career[edit | edit source]
Junior[edit | edit source]
Fleury was a member of Canada's national junior team at the World Junior Championships. On January 4, 1987, he was involved in a fight that started the infamous Punch-up in Piestany against the Soviet Union team. A bench-clearing brawl resulted in both teams being ejected from the tournament, costing Canada an assured medal.
Fleury was drafted by the Calgary Flames 166th overall in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. Initially regarded as being too small to compete in the NHL, Fleury proved to play with the strength and physicality of a power forward, despite his diminutive size. In addition to having speed and play making ability, he also possessed strength and did not need the presence of an enforcer on his line as he could hit, fight and grind despite his size.
Calgary Flames[edit | edit source]
He was a member of the 1989 Stanley Cup Champion Calgary Flames. In his first full season with the Flames in 1989-90, Fleury tallied 31 goals and 35 assists. Fleury tallied two 100 point seasons, one 50+ goal season and three 40+ goal seasons in his time with the Flames. At the latter point in the 1998–99 NHL season, it was clear Calgary was not going to be able to keep Fleury, as he would be commanding a high price on the unrestricted free agency market and Calgary would not be able to afford his salary. Instead of losing Fleury through the free agency market, the Flames arranged a deal with the Colorado Avalanche before the trade deadline in exchange for Rene Corbet, Wade Belak and Robyn Regehr. By the time he left the Flames in 1999, he was the last remaining Flame on the roster of their 1989 Stanley Cup winning team and held numerous club and NHL records. In the end, the Flames’ future plans panned out. With the departure of Fleury, Jarome Iginla became the new star and Robyn Regehr developed into a successful defenseman.
Colorado Avalanche/New York Rangers/Chicago Blackhawks[edit | edit source]
Upon arrival in Denver, Fleury played in 15 games before the end of the season, scoring 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points and another 5 goals and 12 assists for 17 points in 18 playoff games. Despite his success with the Avalanche, Fleury was not re-signed and eventually landed a spot on the New York Rangers on July 5, 1999. After three seasons with the Rangers, Fleury signed with the Chicago Blackhawks for the 2002–03 NHL season.
However, by this time, wrestling with off-ice worries, including his father's cancer operation, his substance abuse problems had begun to surface, something which he battled since his playing career began in Calgary. In 1996, he was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. Although seemingly under control for half a year by the time he won Olympic gold, Fleury's substance abuse issues resurfaced. In October 2002 he suffered a relapse and was suspended for six months, and placed in the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program for violating his aftercare program.
Fleury began the 2002–03 NHL season serving out the 25-game suspension. Soon after his return, however, he missed a practice, claiming he had overslept, and in January, he was involved in an incident at a strip club in Columbus, Ohio. He was suspended in 2003 for again violating the substance abuse program.
In an attempt to restore his career, Fleury attempted to join the North Peace Hockey League's Horse Lake Thunder, which is based in the Horse Lake First Nations, Alberta. His first game was to be on January 6, 2005, but he was ruled ineligible because he was under an NHL contract during the previous season. After two appeals, Fleury and the Thunder were able to overturn the decision. In Fleury's first game with the Thunder, on January 22, 2005, he scored one goal and two assists. Fleury's cousin, Todd Holt, as well as former NHLer, Gino Odjick also played for the Thunder. The Thunder played in the 2005 Allan Cup in Lloydminster. After two convincing round robin wins, the Thunder were upset by the eventual champion Thunder Bay Bombers, 6-5, in the semi-final.
Belfast Giants[edit | edit source]
Fleury signed for the 2005–06 season with the Belfast Giants of the British Elite Ice Hockey League, and made a stellar debut on October 15, 2005, against Edinburgh Capitals scoring a hat-trick, gaining 4 assists, and fighting Fredrik Oduya which led to him being named man of the match. Although he helped the Giants to the league championship, he was involved in several incidents including one game in which he attempted to climb out of the penalty box in order to reach a Coventry Blaze fan who had taunted him, and threatened match officials as a result of frustrating officiating. Following a particularly frustrating encounter with a British ice hockey official (in which the referee was disciplined as a result of his actions), Fleury, clearly enraged, stated in a press conference after the game, that he would not return to the league for the next season, citing the poor standard of officiating in the EIHL.
He was also voted the Elite League Player of the year by the British Hockey Writers Association.
Owner[edit | edit source]
Career statistics[edit | edit source]
|1984–85||Moose Jaw Warriors||WHL||71||29||46||75||82||—||—||—||—||—|
|1985–86||Moose Jaw Warriors||WHL||72||43||65||108||124||13||7||13||20||16|
|1986–87||Moose Jaw Warriors||WHL||66||61||68||129||110||9||7||9||16||34|
|1987–88||Moose Jaw Warriors||WHL||65||68||92||160||235||—||—||—||—||—|
|1987–88||Salt Lake Golden Eagles||IHL||2||3||4||7||7||8||11||5||16||16|
|1988–89||Salt Lake Golden Eagles||IHL||40||37||37||74||81||—||—||—||—||—|
|1999–2000||New York Rangers||NHL||80||15||49||64||68||—||—||—||—||—|
|2000–01||New York Rangers||NHL||62||30||44||74||122||—||—||—||—||—|
|2001–02||New York Rangers||NHL||82||24||39||63||216||—||—||—||—||—|
|2004–05||Horse Lake Thunder||NPHL||7||4||10||14||28||—||—||—||—||—|
International play[edit | edit source]
|1988||Canada||World Juniors||7||6||2||8||4||Gold medal|
|1990||Canada||World Championship||9||4||7||11||10||Fourth place|
|1991||Canada||World Championship||8||5||5||10||8||Silver medal|
|1991||Canada||Canada Cup||7||1||4||5||12||Gold medal|
|1996||Canada||World Cup of Hockey||8||4||2||6||8||Second place|
|1998||Canada||Olympic Games||6||1||3||4||2||Fourth place|
|2002||Canada||Olympic Games||6||0||2||2||6||Gold medal|
|Junior Int'l Totals||13||8||5||13||6|
|Senior int'l totals||44||15||23||38||46|
All-Star Games[edit | edit source]
Awards and records[edit | edit source]
|WHL Eastern Conference All-Star team||1986–87|||
|Bob Clarke Trophy||1986–87 (shared)|||
|IIHF World U20 Championship Tournament All-Star||1988|||
|NHL Plus-Minus Award||1990–91 (shared)|||
|Flames team awards|
|Player of the Year||2005–06|
|First Team All-Star||2005–06|
|Moose Jaw Warriors|
|Shots in one season||353||1995–96|||
|Three or more goal games in one season||5 (shared)||1990–91|||
|Most shots in one game||13 (shared)||March 2, 1995|||
|Most penalties in one game||8 (shared)
(5 minors, 3 misconducts)
|November 9, 1997|||
|Short-handed goals in one game||3||March 9, 1991|||
|Highest Plus/Minus in one game||+9||February 10, 1993|||
References[edit | edit source]
- Joyce, Gare (2006), When the Lights Went Out, Random House, ISBN 9780385662758
- Malcolm, Andrew H. (1997), Fury: Inside the life of Theoren Fleury, McClelland & Stewart, ISBN 0-7710-5655-9