<
>

Interview: Sobriety still Fleury's goal

11/2/2004 - Theo Fleury

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

"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.

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.