Theoren Fleury officially retired from hockey Monday, September 28, 2009 after a two-week tryout comeback with the Calgary Flames ended.
The following is the statement he read at a news conference surrounded by family and friends.
Good morning everyone. Thank you for coming.
These last few days have been very difficult. How could I possibly top what I have accomplished here in the last two weeks? I would have never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to say goodbye to the games that has given me and my family so much. So, today, after much debate with my family and friends, I am officially retiring from playing hockey.
I would like to thank the Calgary Flames, especially Harley Hotchkiss, Doc Seaman and B.J. Thank you for teaching me what it is truly like to be a member of the Calgary Flames family. You taught us all how to be true professionals in every sense of the word.
I remember sitting at Doc Seaman's funeral last year and one phrase that really stood out and embodied what Doc was about as a person and that was 'Leave it better than how you found it.' Over the last two weeks I think I've accomplished that. Doc, I hope you are smiling down today. And I hope you are proud that I finished my career as a Calgary Flame.
To Cliff Fletcher, Al MacNeil, Al Coates and Ian McKenzie: Thank you for taking a chance and giving me an opportunity to realize a life-long dream of becoming a National Hockey League player.
I want to thank Darryl Sutter and Ken King and their staff for giving me this opportunity. I look forward to hopefully working with you in the future.
I would like to thank Gary Bettman and the NHLPA, Dr. Shaw and Dr. Lewis for believing in me. Thank you for providing me with the tools to help me get to where I am today.
Thank you Don Baizley for our 20 plus year relationship. Your advice and guidance is truly appreciated.
Thank you to all my teammates from the 1989 Stanley Cup team. This team was by far the most amazing group of people a young man could have possibly been tutored by. There will never be another team in Calgary that had a more solid group of people I have ever been associated with. Thank you for all your love and support through the years.
As I left the Saddledome on Friday I knew that this part of my life had finally come to an end. The emotions that I felt were the ones of someone who had left it all on the table. I did everything within my power to prolong the inevitable. So, as I say goodbye today, I am at peace. I don't have anything left to prove to myself.
To my mom and dad, thank you for being together through 42 years of marriage. Your love for one another through tremendous adversity is truly inspiring. I am so happy that we got to share so many special victories through the years. To Ted and Travis, I could not have asked for two better brothers. You have always been there when I needed you the most. I am blessed to have such an amazing and close family. To my kids, Josh, Beaux, Tatym and Skylah, thank you for your unconditionally love and forgiveness. I am looking forward to seeing you all grow to become successful and we el-rounded people. I hope that you have enjoyed watching me as much as I enjoyed playing in front of you. I love you all very much. To my wife, Jennifer, thank you for allowing me to be part of your life. You are simply the most caring and giving person I know. You helped me come out of the darkness and realize what it is to dream and succeed again. Without you none of this would have been possible. Your selflessness is what makes you who you are. I love you. I would also like to thank the members of our extended family who are here today. Thanks for your love and support.
To my fans, well, what can I say? Thank you so much for your support and especially the last two weeks. How many athletes can actually say that they left the playing field to a standing ovation? Please don't be angry. We actually got to say one last, final goodbye. I want you all to know that I could not sign with another team. I get to retire as a Calgary Flame.
I want to thank all the members of the media for your support over the last two weeks and throughout my career.
For so many years I thought I was just a hockey player. But I am more than that. I have been given a gift. The gift to overcome and inspire people. For the last two weeks I pulled on your heart strings. I made those of you who were doubters at the beginning become believers. I have been humbled by this experience. No matter how far down the ladder we may have fallen, all of us can always become better people. My life is now all about being of service. If you are filled with fear and feel defeated, remember you are not alone.
I will leave you with one last thought:
Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we try to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Don't quit before the miracle.
Thank you for your time today.