I was fortunate enough to have a phone conversation with Theo Fleury yesterday. It was definitely a huge moment for me since he was and always will be one of my favourite hockey players of all-time. We talked about hockey and business and what he is up to these days. Like I said, a huge moment for me personally.
The Flames won the 1989 Stanley Cup during Theoren Fleury’s rookie season and after winning the cup in 1989, Fleury’s hockey career took off big time. The next season Fleury scored 31 goals and 35 assists for 66 points. In the 1990-91 season he scored 51 goals and 53 assists for 104 points to lead the Flames in scoring. In fact, Fleury led the team in scoring 7 out of the 11 seasons he played for the Flames. In his last season with the Flames, Fleury led the team in scoring and only played in 60 games. He led the team in playoff scoring 4 times in 7 appearances. Fleury was consistently averaging over a point per game until the 1996-97 season when he only had 67 points in 81 games.
Fleury was traded to the Colorado Avalanche during the 1998-99 season and after not being re-signed he joined the New York Rangers for three seasons where he was in the top three in team scoring all three seasons.
Fleury played for the Belfast Giants, based in Belfast, Ireland, during the 2005-06 season and led the team and Elite Ice Hockey League in scoring with 22 goals and 52 assists for 74 points in 34 games.
Since 1989, Fleury has won a Silver medal at the World Championships in 1991, a Gold medal in the Canada Cup in 1991, and a Gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics. He has also participated in seven NHL All-Star Games. Fleury’s favourite player to play with was Doug Gilmour during Theo’s amazing 1990-91 season.
Fleury struggled with emotional problems as well as substance abuse throughout his playing career. While with the Rangers, he checked himself into the league-operated program that treats those issues twice. His erratic behaviour led to the Rangers passing up on re-signing him and after the Blackhawks signed Fleury, he was suspended just a couple days before the start of the 2002-03 season for violating the terms of the league’s substance abuse program. After missing a couple months of the season and a drunken brawl at a night club, the Blackhawks placed Fleury on waivers. No teams claimed him and he was once again suspended the following season for once again violating the terms of the league’s substance abuse program, thus ending his NHL career.
After his hockey career ended, Theo turned to his entrepreneurial side and started a concrete business with his wife and brother and also started his own clothing line. Then came the recession in 2008 which forced him to give up on his business ventures.
Theo was “looking for something meaningful” in life. Since then Theo has written two books and now focuses on public speaking, talking about the abuse, mental issues, and addiction problems he has faced in his life and spreading the message to help others overcome similar situations. Theo didn’t realize that telling his story would mean so much to others and lead him to where he is today.
Theo currently sits on the board of the Flames Alumni Association and is also now a music recording artist. His record ‘I Am Who I Am’ was released in the fall of 2015. Fleury told me he plans to tour this coming September.
Visit Theo’s website to purchase his books or keep up to date on his speaking events.