NEW YORK (AP) -Dallas Stars instigator Sean Avery apologized Wednesday for comments about his former girlfriends that led to an indefinite NHL suspension.
"I would like to sincerely apologize for my off-color remarks to the press yesterday from Calgary," Avery said in a statement obtained by SportingNews.com.
"I should not have made those comments and I recognize that they were inappropriate. It was a bad attempt to build excitement for the game, but I am now acutely aware of how hurtful my actions were. I caused unnecessary embarrassment to my peers as well as people I have been close with in the past.
"I apologize for offending the great fans of the NHL, the commissioner, my teammates, my coaching staff and the Dallas Stars management and ownership. As many of you know, I like to mix it up on and off the ice from time to time, but understand that this time I took it too far."
Commissioner Gary Bettman has summoned Avery to New York for a hearing Thursday.
Bettman disciplined Avery on Tuesday for making "inappropriate public comments, not pertaining to the game." The punishment came down only hours after Avery used a crude term about his former girlfriends dating other hockey players.
Avery missed the Stars' games against Calgary on Tuesday night and Edmonton on Wednesday night. The NHL didn't have a timetable for when a decision would be made after the meeting.
"More than anything, he's let his teammates down," said Dallas co-general manager Brett Hull, who played with Avery in Detroit several years ago and will represent the Stars at the hearing.
Despite all the cajoling, snide remarks and other stunts Avery has pulled on the way to becoming the biggest pest in hockey, this is the first time he has been suspended by the NHL.
Avery's inflammatory line came following a morning skate in Calgary.
Reporters were waiting to speak with Avery about disparaging remarks he'd made last month about Flames star Jarome Iginla when Avery walked over to the group and asked if there was a camera present. When told there was, he said:
"I'm just going to say one thing," Avery said. "I'm really happy to be back in Calgary; I love Canada. I just want to comment on how it's become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my (former girlfriends). I don't know what that's about, but enjoy the game tonight." He then walked out of the locker room.
Avery's former girlfriend, actress Elisha Cuthbert of the television show "24" and the movie "Old School," is dating Calgary defenseman Dion Phaneuf. She also had been romantically linked to Montreal defenseman Mike Komisarek.
"I completely support the league's decision to suspend Sean Avery," Stars owner Tom Hicks said in a statement. "Had the league not have suspended him, the Dallas Stars would have. This organization will not tolerate such behavior, especially from a member of our hockey team. We hold our team to a higher standard and will continue to do so."