At 5’6, Theoren Fleury was always a long shot in the National Hockey League. His spirit was never in question, however, and that’s why many journalists viewed his comeback at Calgary Flames training camp with seriousness and optimism.
When he hit the ice in the pre-season, Fleury was a dynamo. He scored four points, including a scintillating breakaway goal and a shootout winner. He electrified the fans in Calgary.
Alas, it was not to be. Today, the Flames announced that Fleury would not be cracking the roster in the upcoming NHL season. Released by the Flames, the forward will be addressing the media in a press conference to take place on Monday. Fleury is expected to speak about his future and whether he’ll try out for another team.
Gracious for the experience, Fleury seemed happy with how he performed in the pre-season. At 41 years of age with a trying history, he should be damn proud.
“I am very thankful to Darryl and the Flames organization for following through on the commitment to provide me with this opportunity,” Fleury said in a statement. “I said in the beginning that no matter what the outcome, this would be a success story. I intend to take the next few days to review this experience and make decisions with my family regarding next steps in my life.”
And indeed it was a success story.
“To be able to come back at 41 and look as good as he did and does to put the work in that he did,” Jarome Iginla said. “He was saying he was in the best shape of his life. To do that after not playing for six years at this high of a level, it’s great. He loves the game and loves to compete. We’re happy that as players in the camp we got to come and compete alongside him again.”
There are options for Fleury still and the dream to lace the skates in the National Hockey League need not die with news of this release. He could take a minor league contract, like Claude Lemieux, and play hard in order to be called up to the NHL. Or he could knock on some doors around the league.
Regardless of what Fleury decides, it certainly was a pleasure to watch him on the ice again. His is a story less about hockey and more about coming back, about spirit and heart, and about never giving up on what drives us as human beings.
Thank you, Theo.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.