Interview: Sobriety still Fleury's goal

Updated: November 2, 2004, 11:01 AM ET
Associated Press

TORONTO -- Theo Fleury is still battling a substance abuse problem, nearly two years after the former star last played an NHL game.

Theo Fleury

"I'm not sober," Fleury told Rogers Sportsnet in an interview broadcast Monday. "But am I trying? Yeah I'm trying, I'm trying every day. Do I want to be sober? Yeah, eventually at some point I want to be sober."

Fleury, 36, was suspended by the NHL in April 2003, three months after Ohio police said the seven-time All-Star was intoxicated following an altercation at a Columbus strip club.

[The disease] is a lifelong sentence.
Theo Fleury

Fleury voluntarily checked himself into alcohol rehab during the spring of 2001, while he was with the New York Rangers. He missed the final 20 games of that season.

He said his abuse was not limited to alcohol or any specific drug.

"It was all of them, it was every single one of them that you could put your finger on," Fleury said. "Once you get a handle on one thing, then something else creeps up, then once you get that under control then something else creeps up. That's the nature of the disease that people really don't understand. This is a lifelong sentence."

Fleury signed a two-year, $8.5 million contract with the Chicago Blackhawks on Aug. 15, 2002, after being released by the Rangers.

He was suspended two days before the regular season after reporting his own aftercare violation. He sat out 25 games before returning on Dec. 6. Fleury finished with 12 goals and 21 assists in 54 games.

Fleury notched 455 goals and 633 assists in 1,084 career NHL games.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press