The excitement surrounding the opening of Calgary Flames training camp was wratcheted up a notch when it was announced that Flames legend Theoren Fleury would receive a try-out.
It was just over a month ago that the 41-year-old announced his intention to return to professional hockey, and only days ago that he was officially reinstated into the NHL after being suspended in 2003 for violating the leagues substance abuse policy.
Clean, content, and convinced he can crack Calgary's roster, Fleury's return to the ice is another nostaligic layer to the Flames 30th Anniversary season.
While some of Fleury's new teammates were skating with him over the summer around the city, fitness testing was the first opportunity for most of them to get a look at the player who, up until late last season, was the Flames all-time leading scorer.
Here's what they had to say about their new commrade:"I'm proud of him, and I'm glad the organization is giving him a opportunity to see what can happen." - Brent Sutter"I'm very happy for him, that he's cleared, ready to go, and doing so well. I played with him a number of years ago, got to know him, and got to play with him when I first came in. I got to see his talent up close and see just how good he is. Not many people are more talented then he is." - Jarome Iginla"He is an energetic guy who brings a lot of experience to our camp. He was moving well (at informal skates with Flames players prior to camp). To be reinstated and be at camp here, I know he is excited." - Dion Phaneuf"I hated (playing aginast) him. I mean really, he was kind of yappy, he works hard, he's in your face, he's always about winning but he competes hard for not a big guy." - Craig Conroy"A guy like (Fleury) coming back, seeing that smile on his face, you wish him all the best. He's been good on the ice so I think he's going to surprise a lot of people." - Olli Jokinen
"I know Theo pretty well. We had spent some time together when things in his life were a little less settled. Seeing him last night, he looked terrific, he sounded terrific, he seems to be in a good place, he's been sober for a number of years. I hope he can fulfill his dream and come back." -- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman
"Once we determined that Theoren was training to our standards and the league permitted his return to on-ice competition, it wasn't a hard decision for us to provide him with this opportunity.In the history of our franchise, he is among the top players all-time and regardless of what happens he can finish as an active player." -- Flames GM Darryl Sutter