Flames release Fleury

Updated: September 25, 2009, 2:12 PM ET
Associated Press

CALGARY, Alberta -- Theo Fleury's comeback attempt with the Calgary Flames ended when he was released by the team on Friday.

Fleury's bid to return to the NHL six years after he was suspended indefinitely for violating the NHL's substance abuse policy had been one of the feel-good stories of the preseason.

He had a goal and four points in four exhibition games and also scored a shootout winner, but that wasn't enough to earn a place among the Flames' top forwards.

"I believe Theoren did a great job and should be proud, especially considering all the factors including age, time away from the game and lifestyle change," general manager Darryl Sutter said in a statement. "This is not a hockey story, it's a life story. Our agreement with Theoren was that he had to be one of our top six wingers and there were never any intentions of assigning him to the American Hockey League."

Fleury is expected to address his hockey future at a news conference next week. In a statement, he thanked the Flames for the opportunity.

"I am very thankful to Darryl and the Flames organization for following through on the commitment to provide me with this opportunity," he said. "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."

Fleury lives in Calgary and played 11 seasons with the Flames. His last season before his suspension was with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2002-03. He was granted reinstatement by the NHL and NHL Players' Association on Sept. 10 and the Flames then invited him to training camp.

The 5-foot-6 forward had 455 goals and 633 assists in more than 1,000 career games with Calgary, the Colorado Avalanche, the New York Rangers and Chicago between 1988 and 2003. He won a Stanley Cup in his rookie season with Calgary and was a member of the Canadian team that won an Olympic gold medal.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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