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FEATURE: My Husband, Marc-Andre Fleury

You may know the player, but get to know the authentic Marc-Andre Fleury from the person who knows him best, his wife Veronique

by Veronique Fleury / A Special to Blackhawks.com

Photo courtesy of Everly Collective

To say that I am proud of my husband would be an understatement. 

Marc has achieved so much over the course of his career. Not many make it to the NHL. Even fewer get to keep playing in this league into their late thirties. I like to text him after a good game, "You still got it, old man!" which I know might sound crazy to anyone outside of hockey, but yes, in this world 37 is old. Marc started playing in the NHL when he was only 18. Now, he's playing against guys almost half his age, and I am just so proud and impressed to see him still blooming (pun intended). He knows it is a privilege to do what he does. 

He loves winning so much that, to him, this milestone of 500 wins is one of the most meaningful of his entire career. Marc is such a team guy. He has always valued his team's success over his own. Lifting the Stanley Cup was a dream come true for him. Making the Olympic team in Vancouver was another. I still remember his smile when he told us last year that he had won the Vezina -- although he couldn't help saying right away that he felt bad for the other nominees because he thought they deserved it, too. He very rarely talks about any statistics; in fact I know that he would find many of them out from someone on the team the day of the actual game. But 500 wins has been on his mind I think since the moment he reached 400. He was hopeful that he'd be able to join the 500 club alongside his childhood idols, Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy. 

I am just so happy for him, not only that he achieved it, but that he was able to do it in front of our friends and family in our hometown of Montreal. On top of that, he did so wearing his late dad's favorite jersey in the league.

Video: Fleury picks up career win 500

The journey to 500 has been quite a whirlwind to say the least. 

The first 14 years were in Pittsburgh, where we made so many amazing memories and friendships. Marc played with and against so many players he considers hockey legends. I'm pretty sure we still have somewhere among our moving boxes the first puck he saved against Mario Lemieux in practice. He went through some down moments, like a lockout and a few bad concussions, and experienced the excitement of being part of the Olympics and capturing three Stanley Cups. We started our family there with our daughters Estelle and Scarlett. 

We were devastated when we left Pittsburgh. As much as we wanted to keep in mind that this is all a business, when you spend so much time somewhere and make so many connections, it is hard to leave. But everything happens for a reason, and we ended up absolutely loving our time in Las Vegas. The first season felt like a fairytale, coming up a few wins short from the real happy ending. The fans adopted Marc and our family, which grew again with the birth of our son James. And, at least in my eyes, he again proved that he "still had it," adding a few more trophies to his belt. 

This summer, it was again very hard to find out Marc had been traded because, on top of it all, this time our kids were old enough to really understand it. But we kept thinking about all of our hockey friends who had been traded so many times during their careers. A wise friend of mine said that in the end, you want to be where you are wanted. Which is exactly how we feel right now in Chicago. The team and the organization have been amazing, and very welcoming. They appreciate and respect Marc and he gets to keep playing the game he loves.

Video: Fleury earns postgame belt after 500th win

The kids are happy here and we all love to explore our new city. Chicago is so beautiful and there is just so much to do. While it was harder to move when kids are older, it has its perks, too. Our girls are able to understand more. They know and see how hard their dad works. Of course to them he is the best goalie in the world, but what makes me even more proud is that they also get to see how much fans love Marc for who he is as a person. 

We have been together for almost 20 years now and, although I must admit that no, he doesn't ALWAYS smile, I can attest that he is the kindest person I have ever met. He's had many heartbreaking moments in his career that he has handled with such strength and class. He does so much in the community, most of which never gets mentioned because he doesn't want the recognition. Little acts of kindness, like taking kids who are battling cancer to games, or buying pizza for a homeless shelter in Edmonton while in the bubble two summers ago, or paying six months of rent for a struggling family, or building a playground for underprivileged kids. That is the kind of person my husband is and what I am the most proud of. 

And at home, as cheesy as it may sound, he is the most amazing "Papa". If you wonder what the next hockey wish might be for someone who has accomplished so much, I believe for him it's as simple as being able to play long enough for our 2-year-old son James to remember seeing his dad play in the NHL. 

Through it all, my family and I thank you, all of Marc's fans near and far, for your love and support over the years. It means the world to us.

Thank you for celebrating his success today, and every day.

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