has made his decision. He is officially retiring from hockey.
A comeback attempt with the Calgary Flames
, the team that gave the five-foot-six Fleury a chance back in 1987, ended on Friday when the team released him from his tryout agreement.
Fleury, 41, took the weekend to met with family and friends to discuss his future and on Monday, at an emotional news conference with family and friends present, he decided to hang the blades up for good.
"Today, after much debate with my family and friends, I am officially retiring from hockey," said Fleury.
That he was able to return to the game after a six year absence with the team that gave him his start in the NHL, was not lost on Fleury, who had four points in four pre-season games and captured the hearts and imaginations of fans in Calgary, and indeed, across Canada.
He received several standing ovations during the pre-season at the Pengrowth Saddledome and heard his name chanted from the rafters of the building.
"Thank you so much for all your support," he told fans. "How many athletes can leave the playing field to a standing ovation? Don't be angry. We got to say one last goodbye. I want you to know I could not sign with another team. I get to retire as a Calgary Flame."
The winger, a popular and inspirational story during Flames training camp, took the weekend to discuss his future with family, including wife, Jennifer.
"His dream was to retire as a Calgary Flame and he is living that dream right now," said Jennifer, Fleury's wife of three years and a big part of Fleury emerging from alcohol abuse to skating in the NHL again. "The love and support from all the fans was amazing."
To attempt his comeback Fleury had a six-year suspension for violation of the NHL substance abuse policy lifted by commissioner Gary Bettman.
"I knew 15 years ago that I had a problem. The thing with the disease is you don't die right away. It's a slow, long, lonely, bitter death. I said to myself 'That's not what you are. You are not a quitter. You have never given up on anything in your life'," said Fleury.
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