He was a superstar who would talk at length with the media but never about his personal life.
Things have changed for former Calgary Flames captain Theoren Fleury. Wednesday at the 18th annual Calgary Jewish Centre's Sports Dinner, the leading scorer in Flames history opened up for the first time, basically, since retiring from the play-for-pay game. He admitted alcohol and drugs caused him more grief than good during a career lasting almost 40 years from minor hockey to the pro ranks.
The key, though, is that part of his life is behind him. He has not touched a drop in almost two years and gives credit to his wife Jennifer for making him see the light.
He was close to tears when being questioned by Hockey Night in Canada's Kelly Hrudey and Global's Grant Pollock but really reached the crowd of some 700 with his message of a life-changing decision.
He recently opened a new business called Fleury's Concrete Coatings Ltd. on Manhattan Road S.E. and works mainly with family members.
Theo told me at the dinner his company just completed a 4,500 sq. ft. project and will start another of the same size tomorrow.
Fleury played 11 seasons for the Flames, appearing in 791 games, scoring 364 goals and assisting on another 460.
As a Flame, he had 13 hat-tricks and 47 two-goal games.
He also played in 59 playoff tilts scoring 29 times and assisting on 33 others. Being the competitor he was, he took a total of 1,339 minutes in penalties and tied a club record in 1997 by taking eight penalties in one contest, five minors and three 10-minute misconducts.
The little man with the big heart had some hearts feeling for him Wednesday.
WORLD JUNIOR GOLF:
Some say Calgary could be the golf tournament capital of the world with charity events going on almost daily throughout the season.
Well add one more to the list. On June 26, John Wilson's Heritage Pointe layout will be hosting a tournament featuring members of the Canadian team that won the world junior hockey championship earlier this year. There will be a big dinner the night before at the Telus Convention Centre with Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire of TSN as hosts with the players getting their championship rings that night. The goal is to raise more than $1 million for the Canada Hockey Foundation endowment program.
NEW LAYOUT COMING:
The bad news from golf, though, comes with word the nine-hole layout we've known as Buffalo Run on the Tsuu T'ina First Nation is into its last season.
Head pro Herb Crowchild confirmed this week the track will open as always but probably not get a full season in because of plans to build a Costco store on site.
There is good news, too, as the plan is to build a 27-hole executive course just south of where the current track is today.
Crowchild doesn't know, however, when that will be started or when they plan on opening.
They have had people checking the heavily wooded area previously but the plan then was a championship 18-hole course in the valley. I think a 27-hole executive layout would go over big in our city.
Rack up an eight-ender for a local curling rink.
A team skipped by Don Williams and backed by Pat Brisson, Lorin Hokanson and Diane Brisson cracked for eight in the second end of a game in the Calgary Plumbing and Heating League at the Ogden club.
Williams was down 2-0 to a team from Deerbridge Plumbing but won it 14-5 in six ends as the two teams shook hands after a rare feat.