Fleury cleared, looks for invite

Updated: September 12, 2009, 12:34 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Theo Fleury was cleared by the NHL to return to on-ice competition on Thursday, the league said in a news release.

When he left the NHL after the 2002-03 season, the forward was under indefinite suspension for violating the NHL's substance abuse policy.

Fleury has been sober for four years with the help of Alcoholic's Anonymous and the support of his family.

Fleury has been preparing for NHL training camp, which opens this weekend, but he doesn't know if any of the 30 teams will invite him for a tryout.

Fleury was considered a long shot to play in the NHL when he was drafted 166th overall by the Calgary Flames in the 1987 draft. At barely 5-foot-6, he was thought to be too small for the rigors of the league.

He scored 455 goals and helped set up 633 others in an NHL career that lasted 15 seasons and included over 1,000 games with the Flames, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks. He won the Stanley Cup in his rookie season with Calgary in 1989, and played in seven NHL All-Star games.

Fleury had 34 goals and 38 assists in 77 career playoff games. He was also a member of the Canadian team that won the Olympic gold medal in 2002.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.